The Holy Gospel According to Luke 9:28-43
Now about eight days after these sayings Jesus took with him
Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray.
9:29 And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed,
and his clothes became dazzling white. 9:30 Suddenly they saw two
men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him. 9:31 They appeared in glory
and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to
accomplish at Jerusalem. 9:32 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. 9:33 Just as they
were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, "Master, it is good for us
to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for
Moses, and one for Elijah" not knowing what he said. 9:34 While he
was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were
terrified as they entered the cloud. 9:35 Then from the cloud came
a voice that said, "This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!"
9:36 When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they
kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they
9:37 On the next day, when they had come down from the
mountain, a great crowd met him. 9:38 Just then a man from the
crowd shouted, "Teacher, I beg you to look at my son; he is my
only child. 9:39 Suddenly a spirit seizes him, and all at once he
shrieks. It convulses him until he foams at the mouth; it mauls
him and will scarcely leave him. 9:40 I begged your disciples to
cast it out, but they could not." 9:41 Jesus answered, "You
faithless and perverse generation, how much longer must I be with
you and bear with you? Bring your son here." 9:42 While he was
coming, the demon dashed him to the ground in convulsions. But
Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, healed the boy, and gave him
back to his father. 9:43 And all were astounded at the greatness
of God. . . .
The Gospel of the Lord . . .
Thinking about the disciples' experience of Christ's
Transfiguration caused me to think of a time in my own experience
when I felt the awe of being surrounded by clouds and hearing
God's voice speak to me like when the disciples heard the voice of
God from out of the cloud there on that mountain when Jesus' Glory
Surprisingly, or not so surprisingly, my own experience was not
one of those dramatic "mountain top" experiences – like hiking in
the high tops of the Rocky Mountains, being covered in a cloud and
then the sky suddenly clearing and finding oneself at the ledge of
some frighteningly high cliff! Neither was my experience related
to one of those airplane rides – where you see the most beautiful
and majestic cloud formations below, or when the plane breaks
through the cloudy darkness to reveal a beautiful blue skyline
with brilliant sunshine! This sight is especially brilliant when
you know that it is a dreary and cloudy day back home!
For sure, these are the kinds of "mountain top" experiences we
may have in this life.
However, in my "God in the clouds" experience – I was pedaling
a bicycle down a long, straight, and flat piece of highway in
central Florida. To be perfectly honest with you, I was on the
highway nicknamed, "Alligator Alley" located somewhere in the
Everglades tributaries found in that region of south central
As you might imagine, Alligator Alley is not a very good place
to be bicycling if there's a thick blanket of fog to go through
and you can only see a few feet in front of you, and its raining
and -- there's the gators to either side of the roadway that
stretches for miles and miles through this part of the country.
The situation only gets more comical when you realize, its 10
o'clock at night!!
Well, I hadn't exactly planned on being out so late!! Then
again, my friend and I were not very good planners either!! So,
due to the poor planning and on account of those road signs
warning of the large gator population in the area -- we had to
keep on pedaling until we got to someplace resembling
It wasn't long, maybe around the time that the rain was seeping
into my socks, that I think I heard the voice of God! Funny how
much God's voice sounded like a very large Semi-Truck blasting his
horn at us!! I felt the same fear as the disciples there on that
Mountain Top with Jesus, when God's Voice Spoke out of the Cloud.
As the big rig emerged from out of the fog behind me, I realized
he was towing a 14' wide Mobile Home, which, ironically, was
overhanging the narrow shoulder we were precariously peddling
down! Beside the alligator swamps!
And you thought Peter, and James and John were terrified as
they were engulfed by that cloud that day!! Out of our cloudy
minds on this foggy night we heard God . . . and God said -- get
out of the WAY!!!! And so we kind of fell off the edge of the
road, narrowly escaping from the danger of that moment.
Does anyone really know what to say at a time when God has
revealed himself to us?? We often identify most closely with Peter
in the many lessons we hear as Peter reacts to whatever situation
he has found himself in with Jesus. Peter's suggestion about
capturing this great moment (by building tabernacles) as the glory
of God is revealed in Jesus and these two "most prominent" Old
Testament figures have appeared to speak with Jesus about what is
to come -- Peter's suggestion suddenly makes good sense. We need
to hang onto and remember the mountain top experiences of our
lives. Especially, when we recognize that God is at work,
revealing God's self to us.
At this time of the church year, Transfiguration Sunday, we
recognize that we have reached the pinnacle moment of Jesus
ministry – God's light has been revealed to the world through his
Son == We also recognize that Jesus has set his course toward
Jerusalem. Jesus' conversation with Moses and Elijah was to affirm
what had to be done to accomplish Salvation's Plan. Christ – God's
Son would be arrested, undergo suffering and be crucified – but
raised up after three days. . . .
Not too many miles after my encounter with God along that misty
swamp edge, I saw a most welcomed light. The work lamp hung from
the hood of a 67 Pontiac and the light gleamed from the highly
polished motor parts. Nervously my friend and I approached the man
to inquire if we could pitch our camping tent in his yard,
quickly, but carefully explaining that we'd be glad to pay for
this privilege. The man looked up with grease smudged cheeks, but
had a friendly smile. "You boys look like you could use a good
night's rest. Your welcome to camp out over there where my
beagles' dog house is."
At this hour of the night and in this remote place – camping by
the beagles' dog house was sounding really good!! We talked a
little more with him about the race car and then got settled in
for the night. At least the dogs would let us know if gators were
about or any other wild creatures threatening. . . .
We cannot always understand how or when God will reveal himself
to us in this life. But when we can't see God, and the way is
cloudy or dark – we must trust and believe what is beyond our
experience and senses.
What we can't comprehend, we have to believe most deeply. Like
Christ's Transfiguration, his Death, and Christ's Resurrection --
these are the cores of our Christian Faith. That to which we must
cling in uncertain times.
May we find our comfort and rest and safe haven in Christ, who
is our rock of safety and our Salvation.
May the peace of God, which surpasses human understanding fill
your minds, satisfy your heart, and be the strength of your
more writings of Pastor Jon