He Was Transfigured
Jesus is climbing the mountain with His disciples, Peter, James, and John, in the evening. Imagine the scene – rugged,lonely, dark, long, gloomy, late, weary. All day Jesus had spent healing and teaching, lifting burdens off mind and body, sending the thrill of life through enfeebled frames; but He also has human weakness, and He is wearied from the climb.
Why are they climbing a dark mountain so late in the evening after a full day of exhausting labour? Is it to remove themselves as far as possible, for a time, from the world with all its worry, turmoil and sin? And is it to ascend as far as physically possible into the quiet and stillness of nature?
But still, why tonight, when they are weary and need to rest? Is there an object of such importance that it cannot be put off, but must be accomplished tonight? Yes, there is a strong reason. Jesus knows for what purpose He took humanity upon Himself. He knows what lies ahead in the near future, and He must “gain a fresh hold on omnipotence, for only thus can He contemplate the future.” “And He pours out His heart longings for His disciples, that in the hour of the power of darkness their faith may not fail.” We know that He prayed also for us, and is interceding for us now in the heavenly sanctuary. We know what is ahead for us in the near future. We know the powers of darkness are gathering and consolidating their forces for a sudden, desperate and deadly attack on God’s faithful few. They move in the dark.
But we need not fear them, and can and will be eternally grateful that God has prepared a refuge for us. (Please see Psalm 46 and 91). If we flee there and abide, we will be safe and sound.
The disciples did not want Jesus to proceed toward Jerusalem, toward a certain and dreadful death. “How can He resign Himself to such a fate, and leave them in greater darkness than that in which they were groping before He revealed Himself to them?” Do you ever feel like you are groping in darkness? We need Jesus to reveal Himself to us. Again, and again.
As a song goes:
Jesus, it’s me again,
Down on my knees again,
Begging you please, again –
Reach out Your hand!
We need to be strengthened to behold Divinity. That is the burden of Jesus’ prayer for us. He sees our gloom, despair and weakness of faith. Yet we are among the favoured few of the world! Favoured with an over-abundance of spiritual light and insight, as well as material goods. Behold the deeper gloom and despair of vast dark areas of the earth! Behold India and Africa! Look at the hopelessness in many, many faces. Perhaps if we seek to share our light with them, we’ll also be enlightened.
How like the disciples we are! (Speaking for myself). “At first they unite their prayers with His in sincere devotion; but after a time they are overcome with weariness, and, even while trying to retain their interest in the scene, they fall asleep.” “Jesus has told them of His sufferings; He has taken them with Him that they might unite with Him in prayer; even now He is praying for them,” and us.
But also Jesus prayed for Himself! He also was encumbered with the fallen human flesh and needed a renewed connection with the throne of God. He pours out His supplications with strong crying and tears. For Himself and His beloved – He prayed for us that our faith may not fail. He knows we have already sinned, He knows, perhaps, the failings we will have in the ?future. He has made provision for us. He does not wish us to fail, but He has made provision for it. He knew Peter would deny Him, and told Peter what he would do. Peter did deny Jesus; but the prayer of Jesus and his true love for Him saved him. He did not give himself up to despair, but took hold of the hope laid before him, and fled to his refuge.
“Wherein God, willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath; that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us; which hope we have as an anchor for the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters into that within the veil; whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an High Priest forever…” Heb. 6:17-20
Let us, in God’s strength, not our weakness, take hold again and again of God’s precious, abundant, and eternal promises.
When darkness seems to veil His face,
I rest on His unchanging grace,
When all about my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay.
Kathleen Ross, Alberta, Canada