Lent Reflections @ CEC (3/20/20)
"The proof of love is in the works. Where love exists, it works great things. But when it ceases to act, it ceases to exist." Pope Gregory I
SCRIPTURE & DEVOTION: Mark 9:2-13
After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.) Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!” Suddenly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus. As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus gave them orders not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead. They kept the matter to themselves, discussing what “rising from the dead” meant. And they asked him, “Why do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?” Jesus replied, “To be sure, Elijah does come first, and restores all things. Why then is it written that the Son of Man must suffer much and be rejected? But I tell you, Elijah has come, and they have done to him everything they wished, just as it is written about him.”
I like to learn new things. When someone teaches me something that is consistent with everything I have already learned it is easy to accept. When someone tries to teach me something that goes against ideas I already believe I resist. If I am going to change long held beliefs the teacher must have some back up, some evidence or credentials. If this teaching requires me to change my life, I will resist even harder. I want to know by what authority are they saying this?
Peter and the rest of the disciples were going through a moment like that. Peter had just confessed that Jesus was the Messiah. That was a big step. But Peter did not realize yet what that meant. He thought he did. He thought he knew from the law and the prophets what the Messiah would look like, what he would act like and what he would do. Now the things that Jesus is saying don’t line up. Jesus is saying that He is going to die. Maybe Jesus got it wrong. Maybe it was Jesus who did not understand what the Messiah was supposed to do. Maybe Peter could get Jesus straightened out so He knew who he was supposed to be.
Jesus had big plans for Peter would need to understand his mission. When Jesus took Peter, James and John to the mountain He was going to provide a very clear teaching that even Peter should be able to understand. Moses, the giver of the law, and Elijah, the great prophet, were talking to Jesus. Luke tells us that they were talking about the events that are about to happen in Jerusalem. Were they there to correct him? I don’t think so. The very voice of God the Father speaks to them with these words: “This is my Son, whom I love, listen to Him.” Jesus is displaying his credentials. The law agrees with me. The prophets agree with me. My Father affirms me. Listen to me.
The teaching of Jesus is starting to get harder. It's easy to follow Jesus when he was healing and teaching and performing miracles. They can listen to him all day long. He is the Messiah. He is going to rule and we are going to rule with him. But now the words get strange. First he says he is going to die. Then he says we must take up our own cross and follow Him. This is getting very hard to listen to.
But God, our heavenly Father, the God of Moses and the God of Elijah had one message for them. “This is my Son whom I love. Listen to Him.” Even if you don’t understand completely yet, “Listen to Him.” You don’t need to build tents. I never told you to build tents. If Jesus wanted you to build tents He would have told you.
Listen to Him, who is the Messiah the Son of the living God, the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets
Listen to Him, even when you do not understand.
Listen to Him, even when he tells you things that you do not want to hear.
Listen to Him, even when what He says is hard.
Listen to Him, even if what He says will change your life.
Listen to Him, when He says to take up your cross and follow Him.
Father give us ears to hear so that we may listen to your words even when they are hard and don’t make sense. Help us to trust in you that you are the God who loves us and is always working for our good even in difficult and confusing circumstances. And when we are hearers may we also be doers so that your will may be done on earth as it is in heaven.