We are visiting a very amazing scene today. It isn’t the view or any historical relics that make it so amazing, but the attendees and the events leave one breathless. The scene I’m referring to is the mountaintop where Jesus’ glory shone through like the sun. The place of Jesus’ transfiguration. We have already visited this site with Matthew and Mark but Luke ads a couple of things we didn’t see in the other stories. If you would like to look back at our first two visits, click on the links “Jesus’ Transfiguration” and “The Son in His Glory” for a quick review.
Luke tells us that Jesus took Peter, James and John to the mountaintop to pray. Jesus often stepped away to pray by Himself but this time He took His closest three disciples with Him. He would also take these same three men with Him into the Garden of Gethsemane for the same purpose.
Like in the garden, up on the mountaintop our three disciples became sleepy while praying. Luke tells us that “Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep” (verse 32). Luke also tells us that while Jesus was praying is when He began to change in appearance. Was He so deep in communion with the Father that Heaven was spilling out that day? We know His true glory was shining through.
I wonder what He was talking with the Father about that day. Was it about His upcoming sacrifice? Was He praying for strength for His three disciples present? He tells Peter later on that He had been praying for him in regard to his upcoming “sifting” by Satan.
Luke also shares with us some of the content of the conversation between Jesus, Moses, and Elijah. Luke says they “spoke of His departure, which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem” (verse 31). How did Moses and Elijah know what was coming next for Jesus? Did God reveal His plan to them in Abraham’s Bosom or did Jesus share it with them on the mountaintop that day? How much of the plan did they know? How did Luke know what they talked about? Did the Holy Spirit reveal the content of the conversation to him?
Moses and Elijah seem to know more about what is coming for Jesus than His disciples do. Is this because God shared some of the details with them or because they actually listened when Jesus said He would be killed and rise again? I wonder how much knowledge they had of the events yet to come. Were they two of the ones who came out of the grave when the earth shook as Jesus died?
Another thing I find interesting about Luke’s telling of this event is that he tells us Moses and Elijah were “parting from Him” when Peter spoke up. This means that they didn’t cut their visit short because of Peter’s comments. Luke even goes so far as to say that when Peter spoke that he really didn’t know what he was saying. I wonder if this means that Peter was engaging mouth before brain, or that he really didn’t understand the implications of his words and how God would see them. God certainly wasn’t pleased with Peter’s comments and made corrections immediately.
Prayer time is over and Peter is properly chastised for His ill-conceived comments. It’s time to head back down the mountain. Luke doesn’t share with us the conversation that occurred on the way down the mountain. I wonder why that is. Luke does mention that the disciples didn’t share this event with anyone else until after Jesus had risen from the dead.
Father God, thank You for the peek into what went on that day on the mountaintop. I find it strange and embarrassing how many times I have read these three accounts and not noticed the differences. Thank You for opening my eyes to the power in that prayer. Thank You for sharing it with Peter, James and John. I too find myself falling asleep during lengthy prayer time. I’m sorry for this Father. It is not for lack of respect or lack of desire to pray. I even find myself falling asleep while studying sometimes. Please forgive me Father. I don’t know how to combat this. Help me in both these areas Father.