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Thursday, February 04, 2016

Next Day

Like all of the readings for this week, the gospel invites us to imagine what it would be like to be in the presence of God. In fact it recounts a day when Jesus' disciples Peter, James, and John got a chance to experience just that. But they weren't quite ready for such a gift--perhaps we wouldn't be either. Jesus had just told them about his coming "exodus"--his journey to the cross and resurrection--and called them to follow him on the way. But there on the mountain, when they get a glimpse of Jesus' true glory, all they can muster is to blabber some nonsense about building some tents to memorialize the occasion. Still, their fluster does not get in the way of God's purposes. God has a plan in mind for us in Jesus and his words announce its agenda: "This is my Son, the Chosen One, listen to him." There are times when listening and being ready for surprises are the most important part of following Jesus--more important than having all the right words to say.

God of Promise and Surprise, whether on a mountain top or in our daily routine, reveal to us your plan for us and equip us to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, your Chosen Son, our Savior. Amen.

James L. Boyce
Emeritus Professor of New Testament and Greek, Luther Seminary
Master of Divinity , 1971

Luke 9:28-36 [37-43] (NRSV)

28 Now about eight days after these sayings Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray.
29 And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white.
30 Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him.
31 They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.
32 Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him.
33 Just as they were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, "Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah"--not knowing what he said.
34 While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud.
35 Then from the cloud came a voice that said, "This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!"
36 When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they had seen.
[37 On the next day, when they had come down from the mountain, a great crowd met him.
38 Just then a man from the crowd shouted, "Teacher, I beg you to look at my son; he is my only child.
39 Suddenly a spirit seizes him, and all at once he shrieks. It convulses him until he foams at the mouth; it mauls him and will scarcely leave him.
40 I begged your disciples to cast it out, but they could not."
41 Jesus answered, "You faithless and perverse generation, how much longer must I be with you and bear with you? Bring your son here."
42 While he was coming, the demon dashed him to the ground in convulsions. But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, healed the boy, and gave him back to his father.
43 And all were astounded at the greatness of God.]

This God Pause daily devotion is brought to you by the alumni of Luther Seminary.