By Brooke Holt
“Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray. And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white.” - Luke 9:28–29
At this point in Luke’s gospel, Peter has made the bold declaration that Jesus is the Son of God. Soon after, Jesus tells the disciples that he, the Son of Man, will be betrayed, suffer, and die at the hands of sinful man. Then he will be resurrected on the third day. Surely, the disciples’ minds were reeling. Why would the Messiah, the Son of God, who had come into the world to set the Israelites free from their oppressors, have to die at the hands of sinful man? He was supposed to overcome enemies, not surrender to them. Where Peter’s confession brought clarity to the identity of Christ, Jesus’s proclamation of his death and resurrection brought confusion and likely deep concern.
The confusion heightened as Jesus taught the disciples that they, too, would be called to pick up their crosses and follow him. Criminals, not disciples, were executed on crosses—and surely not the Son of God!
With all that ambiguity in the hearts and minds of the disciples, Jesus and his closest companions (Peter, James, and John) trudged up the mountain. There, Luke tells us that as Jesus was praying, “the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white” (v. 29). The timing of this transfiguration is significant. Jesus wasn’t changed as he was walking or thinking about God. Jesus was changed as he communed with God through prayer.
Even before this prayer, Jesus lived a holy life. Now, standing on that mountain in prayer, the glory of Jesus broke through, and Peter, James, and John could see the visible manifestation of the Son’s glory and holiness. Jesus was transformed by prayer—holy to holy, glory to glory. If that is true for Jesus, the Son of God, could that time of prayerful communion with the Father also transform you?
The season of Lent invites us to renew our practice of prayer—to set aside time to seek the Lord in prayer and allow him to transfigure you from one degree of glory to another (2 Corinthians 3:17–18). As the Holy Spirit fills your thoughts and heart, he brings power for change, healing, and restoration. Your life becomes more and more like Jesus. You are transfigured through meeting with him.
Jesus calls you to pick up your cross and deny yourself (Luke 9:23). Spending time in prayer means getting up earlier or staying up later. It means carving out time in your day when you can enjoy true communion with the Lord. It might mean skipping social media, the news, your favorite show, or even a gathering of friends. But your time with the Lord will not be wasted!
This Ash Wednesday, you are invited to come, to behold the risen King, to commune with the triune God, and to be transfigured by his Word, presence, and power.
Will you come? Will you commit these next forty days to commune with the Lord and allow him to transform your life, your thoughts, and your heart? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Follow the ancient way of the Psalms and find the life God has for you. A model for vibrant worship, the Psalms provide practical wisdom to traverse the circuitous path of life with trust and hope. Pilgrim’s Path: A Study of the Psalms traces our spiritual walk with God—from discovery and delight, through doubt and disappointment, into joyful confidence. Whether used for individual or group study, Pilgrim’s Path is for everyone who seeks to know and love God more and find life in him.
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