Second Sunday in Lent (Mar 17th)

Pastor's Summary of Luke 9:28-36

Jesus has predicted his suffering, death and resurrection to his disciples; he has called on them to "take up their cross" (v. 23), has warned that those who hear the gospel but fail to trust in it will be condemned, and has promised that some present will see the kingdom of God. Now he and the inner circle of disciples ascend "the mountain" (v.28). In Luke, Jesus always prays before an important event.

An aura of unnatural brightness is linked with mystical appearances in Exodus and Acts; "dazzling white" (v. 29) is a symbol of transcendence. In Jewish tradition, both "Moses and Elijah" (v. 30) were taken into heaven without dying. Jesus' agenda is in accord with the Law and the prophets, he is doing God's will.

"Two men" also appear at the resurrection and at the ascension. Jesus' "departure" (v. 31, exodos in Greek) is his journhey to Jerusalem and his passage from this world. Peter clearly doesn't understand; perhaps he thinks he is witnessing a super Feast of Tabernacles ("dwellings", v. 33)- a time when the whole city was brightly illuminated. The "cloud" (v. 34) is a symbol of God's presence; the words from it recall Jesus' baptism, and add "listen to him!" (v. 35) They refrain from telling anyone what they had seen in order to avoid premature curtailing of Jesus' earthly ministry.