Luke 9:28-31 The Second Exodus

And it came to pass about eight days after these sayings, [Jesus] took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray. And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistening. And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias: Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem. (KJV)

//Here’s a puzzle for you. There’s one word I want to emphasize in today’s verses. It’s the word “decease.” Jesus spoke of his “decease,” which he should “accomplish” at Jerusalem.

Sounds logical—that’s where Jesus went to die on the cross—but most current versions of the Bible translate this word differently. Most read “departure,” not “decease.” The King James version, and a couple others, naturally assume that Jesus’ “departure” means his death, since that’s what they see being “accomplished” in Jerusalem. So they translate the word into “decease.”

The New Living Translation actually contains the correct translation … by realizing that the word needs no translating at all. The original Greek word is exodos, translated “exodus,” which does indeed mean “departure” … but which is also pregnant with meaning. We, today, equate the word exodus  with Israel’s escape from Egypt, when Moses led God’s people to the promised land … and you can be sure that today’s verses’ original reference to the exodus would have been recognized just as plainly by first-century readers. Jesus planned to accomplish an exodus in Jerusalem, just like the one in Egypt.

So, apparently, the reference to Moses in this passage is not coincidental. Many Jews expected the coming Messiah figure to be patterned after Moses, and many anticipated some sort of second exodus. So, in this verse, as Jesus plans his trip to Jerusalem with Moses, he appears to be not leaving his disciples, but leading them to a new land! But that begs the obvious question: Where is he leading them?

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