Jesus needed a break.
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.
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.
So do we.
We have been working to be brave during what feels like unrelenting challenge. Each of us has stories.
The job we were counting on disappeared.
The person we loved most suddenly, slowly, died.
The relationship that was keeping us going evaporated.
While we were on the tightrope, our balance pole dropped away.
When the pandemic was new, when the adrenaline was carrying us, when everything was novel, we keep moving. But now it’s a chronic ache, a paralyzing uncertainty. We need some kind of break.
Kind of like Jesus and the disciples.
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, up a mountain.