Week 2 of Lent - Gospel Meditations and Prayers for Lent
Sunday February 24th, 2013
Sunday February 24th, 2013
"Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him."
Glorified Jesus—Drowsy Disciples Luke’s account of the Transfiguration of Jesus (9:28-36) is a very appropriate reading for the start of Lent. All three accounts of the Transfiguration tell us that Jesus engaged in conversation with Moses and Elijah on the mountain, but only Luke tells us what they were talking about: they “were speaking of his departure (literally exodus) that he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem” (9:31). A few verses later, we read that “the days drew near for [Jesus] to be taken up” and that Jesus therefore “set his face to go to Jerusalem” (9:51), embarking on a journey that will occupy the next ten chapters (see 19:37). Thus as the three disciples are about to embark with Jesus on this lengthy and momentous journey—a journey that will lead them through the terror, grief and confusion of Good Friday before it reaches the joy and holy bewilderment of Easter Sunday—they are granted a vision of Jesus in his glory to sustain them on the way.
This might be a nice image for us to take with us as we make our own Lenten journey towards the cross and resurrection. But things are not quite so simple. Luke (again, only Luke) tells us something else about the disciples. While the significant conversation was taking place between Jesus, Moses and Elijah, “Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep” (9:32). A momentous event is taking place, a one-time-only opportunity to see Jesus in the glory that would be fully his at the end of the journey, an opportunity to experience something that will sustain them on their own journey with him—and they almost miss it entirely through drowsiness!
Each of us is painfully aware that we too are prone to be weighed down with things that lead to exhaustion and thus inattention to the things that really matter. As we continue on our own journey with Jesus this lent, let us strive to “stay awake” (9:32) so that we don’t lose sight of the glory that will be his—and ours—at the journey’s end.
Gracious God, as we make our Lenten journey towards Good Friday and Easter Sunday, we pray that we may be alert to the presence of Jesus and attentive to your guidance along the way. In the name of Jesus, the suffering and glorified one, Amen.
Dr. Terry Donaldson
Lord and Lady Coggan Professor of New Testament Studies, Terry has published four books and about thirty-five journal articles or chapters. His current research project has to do with ethnicity, identity and the emergence of Gentile Christianity.
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