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Third Friday

LISTEN

READ
Matthew 17:1-9

CONTEMPLATE
Welcome to Lent meditation and worship with Westside church. During this Lenten season, meet us here each day as we read scripture, worship and rest in the presence of God together. Know that as you listen today, you are doing so with others whether in the same space as you or not, and we pray that the Holy Spirit permeates the places we each find ourselves in right now. 

Let us start today by clearing our minds and opening our hearts and minds to what the Lord wants to speak to us through His word today. Take a deep breath in and out. And another in and out.

Have you ever thought about the kind of faith the disciples must have had to follow Jesus? When Jesus meets most of them, they are going about their day to day life and he calls them to follow him. And just like that, they drop everything and do. But why? Jesus hadn’t performed miracles yet, he wasn’t known throughout the land yet. He just was. As they followed him for the next 3 years, their eyes would be opened to many things. They would come to believe him to be the Son of God.

There’s an interaction that 3 of the disciples are witness to that confirms in the moment everything they had believed about Jesus.  Let’s read the story:

Matthew 17:1-9
1-3 Six days later, three of them saw that glory. Jesus took Peter and the brothers, James and John, and led them up a high mountain. His appearance changed from the inside out, right before their eyes. Sunlight poured from his face. His clothes were filled with light. Then they realized that Moses and Elijah were also there in deep conversation with him.

4 Peter broke in, “Master, this is a great moment! What would you think if I built three memorials here on the mountain—one for you, one for Moses, one for Elijah?”

5 While he was going on like this, babbling, a light-radiant cloud enveloped them, and sounding from deep in the cloud a voice: “This is my Son, marked by my love, focus of my delight. Listen to him.”

6-8 When the disciples heard it, they fell flat on their faces, scared to death. But Jesus came over and touched them. “Don’t be afraid.” When they opened their eyes and looked around all they saw was Jesus, only Jesus.

9 Coming down the mountain, Jesus swore them to secrecy. “Don’t breathe a word of what you’ve seen. After the Son of Man is raised from the dead, you are free to talk.”

What a meeting to show up to. To be standing with your friend Jesus and then all of a sudden he’s glowing. In this moment, Jesus’ divinity that has been veiled comes into full view for these three disciples. And then Moses and Elijah show up and are talking to Jesus. As all this is happening, the disciples take this as confirmation that the Kingdom of God was about to be ushered in with full glory. This was the moment they had been waiting for. The Messiah was here to rule and reign and overthrow the government. Peter wanted to memorialize this moment by building them tabernacles.

As the voice of God intervenes, bellowing from the heavens, “This is my Son, marked by my love, focus of my delight. Listen to him”, the disciples fall down in fear. No. This is not at all what they thought. They still didn’t get it.

Jesus is a gentle friend, who meets us with tenderness and care the same way he cared for Peter, John and James in that moment. He reaches down to touch your face to say, “Don’t be afraid.” Our weaknesses may be glaringly more apparent than our faith, but Jesus still meets us where we are. In the fear. In the doubts. In the chaos. In the promises that sound too crazy to be possible. He’s here and he knows us. Jesus knew that the disciples wouldn’t be able to fully understand what had just happened on that mountain until they saw Jesus later on a different mountain hanging on a cross and then raised from the dead. Then they would begin to understand the way of the Kingdom of God.

Jesus knows you. And knows sometimes there are things in this life that don’t make sense. The way of Jesus doesn’t always make sense. But he is asking for your faith. No matter how tiny. Do you have the faith that Abram and Sarai had to follow God where he led? Even when it sounds preposterous? Do you have faith that Jesus promise of redemption is real and for you right now? While Pastor Lindsay sings today, listen and contemplate on where your faith is at this moment, whether nearly non-existent and as all-encompassing as a cloud falling on you. Talk to Jesus about it. Be honest and open. He doesn’t need the “right” answer. He wants the honest one. He wants you to show up right where you are today, just as you are. Will you let him gather you into himself in tenderness?

PRAY

Hope beyond all human hope, you promised descendants as numerous as the stars to old Abraham and barren Sarah. You promise light and salvation in the midst of darkness and despair, and promise redemption to a world that will not listen. Gather us to yourself in tenderness, open our ears to listen to your word, and teach us to live faithfully as people confident of the fulfillment of your promises. Amen.

WRITE and DISCUSS

  1. Does the way you read this story change at all in light of knowing what was coming next and what Jesus would end up doing through his resurrection?
  2. When thinking about your faith in Jesus, how would you describe it?
  3. Where has your faith in Jesus led you in your life?