One day, after they had been together for more than a couple years, Jesus told the disciples he was going to die. They were going to go up to Jerusalem and he would be arrested and killed and rise again. This confused the disciples.
This confused the disciples. It didn’t fit with the great success that they had seen. It didn’t fit with the way they saw Jesus. Peter, in particular, resisted this teaching. And Jesus had to cut off his argument.
As Jesus was praying, talking with his Father, he began to shine. Not just in reflected light, but internal light. And then two other people were on the mountain with them.
Moses and Elijah. Two people who went up on mountains to see God. Two people who were heroes of the Jewish people. Literally, the law and the prophet.
Luke says that Jesus, Moses, and Elijah had a conversation.
They talked about what was going to happen to Jesus. Luke says they talked about Jesus’ Exodus, leading people out of slavery into freedom.
In complete contrast to the way the disciples had talked, this conversation was comforting.
Although the scholars who write about this gathering talk about what it means metaphorically and allegorically and theologically, I think that we shouldn’t miss the relationship part.
Jesus was human enough to need encouragement. To need relationship with people who understood who he was in all of his fullness.
So while he was in conversation with his Father, the Father gave him people who could understand. Old friends who knew life and death. Old friends who had, while alive, talked face to face with God. People who he probably saw before, when he was only God, with God.
Moses, who knew about leading people to freedom, about seeing God in a cloud, about glowing from being with God.
Elijah, who understood being chased by a king, who knew about still small voice conversations with God, who had been taken up in a chariot rather than dying in the usual way.
The Father knew exactly the encouragement his son needed.
Part two comes tomorrow.
And if you haven’t purchased Lent for Non-Lent People, it’s available in paperback and for Kindle (for just 99 cents). If you order the paper version, you can get the Kindle version through the match program for free.