[June 30]--Parting the Veil

Luke 9:28-36

My Savior is pretty amazing. Apart from the obvious, I mean. He’s God in the flesh, sent to save us, completely submissive to the Father’s will, etc. But there’s one thing I keep noticing in the Gospels which is an attribute we don’t talk much about: He always gives his followers/friends exactly what they need at exactly the right time. When they need some simple instructions, he provides it. When they need to get a break from the smothering crowds, he calls for a retreat. When it’s time to get back to work, he lets them know. When they need a kick in the seat of the pants, well, guess what?

Today’s passage is a perfect example of that. If you read the verses just prior to that, you can guess what type of mood the disciples would be in after a little “pep talk” he gave. You can read it here, but I’ll summarize it: I’m about to die, and life for you is not going to be much better. If you’re going to follow me, you’ll have to resign yourself to being a dead man walking. When this is all over, it’ll be great: I’ll come down with the angels in power and glory, and knowing me will be the best thing that ever happened to you. But for now, it’s nothing but hardship and (likely) an early grave.

Like I said, not exactly a “pick me up” type of speech. Just remember, though, that our Lord always tells us what we need to hear, not what we want to hear. But after laying it all out for them, he saw that they needed some balance.

Often he went alone to “recharge his batteries” by spending time with the Father, but not this time. He took his “chosen three” with him and gave them the morale booster to end all morale boosters. I guess he figured that once he did this for the top three, they'd encourage the rest.

During 99.99999999% of his earthly life, the glory of the Lord Jesus was veiled. Most of the time, you could pass him on the street and not take a second look. His own brothers didn’t believe in him, nor did the people in his hometown. This was part of the deal regarding the Incarnation: He laid aside his glory in heaven and became “nothing. . .taking the very nature of a servant.”

But for a brief moment on that mountain, the veil was parted. The same glory that caused Moses’ face to shine like the sun was now in front of the disciples. And they didn’t know whether to be overcome with joy or terror. On top of the transformation of Jesus, they see him talking with Moses and Elijah, the great Law-giver and one of the greatest prophets.

Once again, I love how brutally honest the Bible is about its heroes. If I was making this stuff up, I'd definitely put better dialogue in Peter’s mouth, or just present him as being wisely silent in worship. I love Luke’s little aside: Poor Peter was just babbling and didn’t know what was coming out of his mouth, like a lot of people who are emotionally overwhelmed.

Some commentators speak poorly about Peter’s statement on a theological basis. He was very wrong in equating the Lord Jesus with Moses and Elijah in worship. But come on, let’s cut the guy some slack, shall we? Do you think you’d be thinking clearly in those circumstances?

Then the voice of the Father interrupted Peter’s incredible wisdom with some correction. Moses and Elijah were prominent servants, but that’s all they were. In contrast, this is my Son, and the best thing you can do--instead of talking so much—is to listen to him. Which, of course, is the best advice anyone ever gave to anyone else.

Naturally that’s a good application for me. Also we need to be extremely grateful for mountaintop experiences like this. Your days seem to be getting harder and harder. God seems so far away at times. He promised that in life you’ll have trouble, and he’s certainly keeping that promise! But then, all of a sudden, he calls you aside and gives you a big morale booster. He parts his veil, just for a moment, and lets you see a smidgeon of his glory. And that’s enough to keep you going. He always gives you just what you need, doesn’t he?

Yes, Lord, that’s absolutely a bedrock truth. Thank you.

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