As we journey together through the season of Lent, we walk with the disciples from one experience to another. A few weeks ago, we journeyed with them to the top of a mountain. This encounter was limited to a select few (Peter, James and John). Before their very eyes, Jesus was transfigured, transformed. They were able to overhear a conversation between Jesus and Elijah and Moses. No doubt, this was a highlight of their time with Jesus. They would later reflect on this experience and it would serve as a key reference point for them. On the way down from the mountain, they asked Jesus questions about what just happened and how it would all work out in the end. We are only able to get a glimpse of this conversation; I wish we had it all written down. What happens next is our text for this Sunday.
Out of all the Gospel writers, Luke has the most condensed version. He moves rather quickly from the Transfiguration to the next scene.
(Luke 9:37 NIV) The next day, when they came down from the mountain, a large crowd met him.
Luke wants us to see the connection. One day, they are on top of a mountain with Jesus. The next day, they are overwhelmed by a crowd. One day they are basking in the glory of God; Jesus, Elijah and Moses all having a conversation in their glorified state. The next day, they are in the midst of a suffering world. The contrast between the two encounters is great. Luke is quick to the point in this next story. I particularly like the ESV version of verse 38.
(Luke 9:38 ESV) And behold, a man from the crowd cried out, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child.
Behold (You don’t see this word in the NIV). Luke wants us to realize that this guy comes from out of nowhere. His encounter with Jesus will clarify why Jesus came down from the mountain. Remember, Peter wanted to remain on the mountain. It was a nice place to be. Yet Jesus is on a mission; and this mission involved suffering people. In this week’s story, a father is heartbroken over the condition of his son. He has enough faith to come to Jesus and Jesus is willing/ready to heal.
As we study Luke 9:37-43 together, we will watch Jesus in the midst of a suffering world once again. Yet Jesus seems to be a bit harsh in this text. Perhaps the encounter on the mountaintop reminded Jesus of how far this world has veered from God. Look at Jesus’ words.
(Luke 9:41 NIV) “You unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you and put up with you? Bring your son here.”
Why does Jesus seem so critical? What do His words mean for our generation? This week’s text is a powerful story. I hope you’ll be able to join us on Sunday as we engage the Scripture together.