Sunday 07 February 2016

Bible Book:

“Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, they saw Jesus’ glory…” (v. 32)

Luke 9:28-36 Sunday 7 February 2016

Psalm: Psalm 99


The question of who Jesus is was raised by Herod (Luke9:9) and then by Jesus himself (Luke9:18). Peter seemed to have recognised that Jesus was theMessiah (Luke 9:20) but not understood what sort of Messiah. Thisis something we all have to work on.

On a mountain top the closest disciples of Jesus - Peter, Jamesand John - saw Jesus' glory while he was praying. Glory is a wordassociated with the beauty, goodness and power of God.In thistremendous, shared experience the disciples perceived the spiritualglory of God shining through Jesus as he prayed. Present also werethe ancestral important prophets Moses and Elijah. Jesus' face andperson were 'transfigured' or changed, his clothes became dazzlingwhite.

The way the story is told would have reminded the firstlisteners of the story of Moses, when he went up a mountain, metGod, and received the tablets of the Ten Commandments (Exodus19-20). The glory of God was thought to be too amazing forordinary mortals to perceive and so the presence of God was oftenshown hidden in cloud. It is out of the cloud that God spoke toMoses (Exodus 19:9) and here to Peter, James and John(verse 35).

The disciples are described as being "weighed down with sleep",but still staying awake. This may be because they were in deep,contemplative prayer, which can induce a trance-like state, but onewhere part of your mind is very alert. In this prayerful state theyperceived the deepest truth of Jesus' identity, his reflection ofthe very glory of God.

Like us, when something has been shown to us in prayer, Peterhas the instinct to try to try to capture the moment. He askedJesus if they should make dwellings for Jesus, Moses and Elijah.Church buildings can described as dwellings erected in places wherethe glory of God has been glimpsed. But the answer that comes fromGod is to listen to Jesus, God's son. It perhaps suggests thatdiscipleship is not about hoarding spiritual experience, like atrophy. Rather spiritual experience is to be spent in a live senseof relationship with the Son, learning to listen and be obedient toJesus' voice.

To Ponder

  • When have you had a sense of the glory of God and what have youdone with the experience?
  • Are there particular places where you especially experienceGod's glory? And what is it about the place that makes it sospecial?
  • What difference do you think the recognition that Jesus wasshowing God's glory made to the disciples in the short, medium andlong term? What difference does it make to you?

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