We don’t get to define it all.

(Part four of a reflection on Matthew 17 and Luke 9)

4. The father loves his understanding of who Jesus is more than he loves ours.

I hear about Jesus all the time in my work. Jesus wouldn’t do this. The Jesus I know is this way or that. Jesus isn’t like the father. The way I understand Jesus. And I suppose that God is interested in what we say the way that a parent smiles at the way a child mispronounces a word, or gets excited about some new learning.

But then the parent says, “Here is how things really are.”

Jesus is the son. The well loved son. The satisfying son The one who is to be listened to. In every way. In everything he speaks about.

5. The father does talk to us

IMG_1069.JPGThe Father wraps the disciples in glory. The disciples are IN the cloud WITH Jesus. Being close to Jesus puts in in the cloud of presence. Not of easiness, not at all. The conversation was about Jesus’ death, after all. But God talked to the disciples about Jesus.

6. Sometimes we need to reflect before we speak.

For me, this part of the story is huge. The disciples actually had to think for a while before they understood. They had to wait for more of the story before THIS part of the story made sense.

We hear things, we get glimpses of things that we are not going to understand. God says, “Wait with that for a while. You’ll get more puzzle pieces. The mystery will make more sense. The next chapters of the story will make this one make sense.”

7. From now on the Gospel gets grittier.

This moment didn’t mark the end of the hard parts of Jesus’ life. From now on, things will get much harder. The resistance from others gets more pointed. The plotting and eventual killing happens.  But Jesus is reinvigorated to face it because of this time with God. Our prayer time sometimes doesn’t change the events. But it can give us the strength we need to face really hard times.

This week is the beginning of the season that is called Lent. It started on Wednesday, Ash Wednesday as it is known. Many people decide what they will spend forty days saying NO to and what they will be saying YES to. I’ll say no to indulgence, I’ll say yes to relationship. I’ll say no to gossip, I’ll say yes to worship. I’ll say no to the good and say yes to the best.

As you are thinking about it this week, consider what you can take away so that you can add time with Jesus on the mountain.

We may see who he really is.


You can still purchase 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.