Lesson: Luke 9:28-36
Our Scripture passage today is Luke’s version of the highly symbolic story called the Transfiguration. Luke’s account is nearly identical to those in Matthew and Mark. We’re far enough into the gospel that Jesus’ ministry is causing quite a stir. Jesus has told the disciples about the challenges ahead in Jerusalem, and now he takes Peter, James and John up a mountain to pray. While in prayer, Jesus’ face is transformed and his clothes become dazzling white. The glory of God shines forth from him.
Then Moses and Elijah appear, representing the Law and the Prophets, and they speak with Jesus about what will happen in Jerusalem. Luke’s gospel is the only version that tells us what they discuss: they speak of Jesus’ death – his departure – the word in Greek is exodus. Like the exodus from slavery in Egypt, this new exodus also will lead God’s people to freedom: freedom from slavery to sin and death.
The disciples shake off their drowsiness and Peter suggests they capture this Kodak moment by setting up three tents. But the gospel writer tells us Peter doesn’t get it. He wants to hold onto the moment of glory or enshrine the three shining figures, but God intervenes, terrifying the disciples in the process. God announces from a cloud, “This is my Son, my Chosen. Listen to him.” Our response to this glory, this mystery, this announcement that Jesus is God’s chosen, is to listen to him.
Listen to him. This sounds easy enough, right? David Lose says, “I like the fact that God doesn’t say, ‘Become exactly like Jesus,’ or ‘Take up your cross.’ Just, ‘Listen to him.’ Now, see, that’s something I can probably do. I can do that. I can listen. That’s something we can all do.”
But – maybe it’s not as easy as it sounds. Think about listening to someone who contradicts some of your treasured beliefs. Think of something you feel very strongly about, something you don’t want to let go. Think of our current political climate. Read more →