Jesus took Peter, James, and John with him to pray. However, the long day and the quiet night got the best of the trio. They felt more drawn to sleep than prayer. Hasn’t the same happened to you? You sit statue-still in a too-quiet place where best intentions hope to make an intimate connection with God. However, your body has another agenda: sleep.
The disciples were familiar with this habit of Jesus to find a quiet place away from needy crowds and the aggressive scrutiny of his critics. The disciples were learning that prayer was not ritual to Jesus; it was his lifeline. It was an intimate exchange with his Father. Jesus came to prayer to be loved, directed, focused, and sent. Prayer changed him, rested him, and steadied him.
Something happened on this mountain that helped Peter, James, and John understand Jesus’ intimate, sustaining, can’t-live-without-it connection to prayer. Whose sleepy eye caught it first, we don’t know for sure, but Jesus’ face changed. And more than that, Moses and Elijah were talking with Jesus as if the disciples were invisible. Did Jesus speak their names? Is that how they knew them?
That’s when Peter, James, and John woke up! Sleep no longer had power over them. They saw what they would have expected a dream to produce, but this was no dream. Glory was close enough to touch but holy awe froze them. It was as if Jesus’ prayer lifted a veil that allowed them to see the otherness that always existed but they never perceived. They woke up to the reality of prayer. They woke up to the glory of God. They woke up to the truth that nothing would be the same again.
We need to wake up to the unseen but very present reality of who Jesus is. We need to wake up to the powerful possibilities of prayer as a way to lift whatever veil blinds us. We need to wake up to glory in the highest, Jesus come to share God’s unfailing love for us. We need to live awake to how the glory of God transforms because we need His transformation on the mountains and in the valleys of our lives. As the hymn writer reminds: Awake, my soul, and live!
Where is your mountain where Jesus would help you see his transforming glory?