He had been teaching, thoughtfully, skillfully. He had been taking on the powers of darkness. He was preparing his followers for his death, getting them ready for what they were going to watch.
And for Jesus each day was full of resistance.
- There was the intentional resistance from those in power.
- There was the spiritual resistance from the powers of evil, capturing bodies, making them sick.
- There was the resistance of ignorance in the groups he was trying to teach. People who had been taught one way and now needed to understand that what all that teaching meant was something else.And there was the resistance of his own closest students, the disciples. Sometimes they understood, usually they didn’t. And Jesus was telling them things that they wouldn’t understand — that they couldn’t understand — until he died and came back.
Several months before the crucifixion, Jesus needed a break. And the closest disciples needed a picture that would help them understand, a little, the things that he’d been trying to tell them.
So Jesus and Peter and James and John go for a hike. John, James, and Peter saw Jesus with robes whiter than any laundry person could bleach them. They saw Elijah and Moses standing with Jesus, chatting.
And Jesus got his break.
You know how sometimes you tell a story and you have to explain everything. Or you are talking about the really hard parts of doing your work, and someone says, “remind me what you do again?” Or sometimes, you are in another country, another culture, having to speak another language all the time. And then you get a break. You are with people from home. I call it, “being able to use big words.”
Jesus is “using big words”. We read about Moses having a glow from being with God. Jesus had the glow because he was God. Jesus was wearing the clothing that was his by nature. He had the inner glorious glow that was his nature. Luke says that Elijah and Moses talked with him about what was going to happen, about his departure, about his death.
It was, for Jesus’s humanity a reminder of Jesus’s divinity.
You know, for some of us, we need that reminder. In the middle of all our pain and anticipation, like Jesus, we need to be reminded that we belong to God. We need to remember that this life isn’t all that there is.