What Is Patience?
In Luke 9:28-36 we read about the transfiguration of Jesus in the presence of Peter, John, and James. We must remember as we read of this part of Jesus life that he was on his way to the cross. He knew that each step that he took towards Jerusalem was a step closer to his crucifixion. Jesus had just revealed in the days before that "the son of man must suffer many things and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain and raised again the third day" (Lk. 9:22). He had also revealed to his disciples through the Holy Spirit that he is the "Christ of God" (Lk. 9:20). When Jesus was transfigured before his sleepy disciples, their first reaction was one of prejudice and lack of understanding. Jesus stood in a glorified body and spoke to the great lawgiver, Moses, and the great prophet, Elias, and "they spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem" (Lk. 9:31). This was one of the last moments of glory and reassurance that Jesus had before his death, and his disciples were totally oblivious to the importance or the significance of the occasion.
In Luke 9:37-45 we find Jesus coming down from the mount and the refreshing encouragement of his Father and the Old Testament saints, only to be confronted with the lethargy, indolence, and unbelief of his followers and the world. A distraught father, with a child in the grips of an evil spirit, cried out to him,
"Master, I beseech thee, look upon my son: for be is mine only child" (9:38). The impression that we get of the situation is one of confusion: people running around, not knowing what to do; the disciples were hopelessly baffled, the boys father disappointed and upset. Jesus quickly brought the situation under control, but not without sorrow and irritation (Lk. 9:41).
In the face of all the glory and adulation he was to receive at this mighty work (Lk. 9:43), Jesus said again to his disciples, "let these sayings sink down into your ears: for the son of man shall be delivered into the hands of men. But they understood not his sayings, and it was hid from them and they perceived it not: and they feared to ask him of the saying" (Lk. 9:44,45). Along the entire journey to Jerusalem and certain death, Jesus put up with and patiently taught his puffed up (Lk. 9:46,54), and ignorant (Lk. 9:49), and halfhearted (Lk. 9:57-62) followers.
Is it any wonder, after thirty-three years amongst mankind that Jesus would require patience in his disciples, as he demonstrated that quality in himself? Paul tells us in 1 Cor. 13:4 that "love suffereth long, and is kind." flow do we treat the slow to perceive? Are we harsh and pushy, or longsuffering and kind? Paul told us in Col. 3: 13, "forbear one another, and forgive one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye." Do we harbor grudges, and become opprobrious against the weak or ignorant brother?
Above all, preachers and elders must be patient and longsuffering. "The servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle into all men. apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves" ~2 Tim. 2:24,25). The brother that will not develop these qualities, and is harsh, demanding, and quickly discouraged is not following in the steps of the Master Teacher.
TRUTH MAGAZINE XVII: 16, p. 13