Do you have a friend – maybe from school or a previous job – who you don’t see very often, but whenever you do, the conversation just picks up from where you left off, as if no time had passed?
In the following passage, we find that Jesus wasn’t alone at His transfiguration (despite His disciples apparently nodding off, as we find in verse 32). He’s having a talk with Moses and Elijah. Not their ghosts, not a vision, but the very same people, which is a good reminder to all of us that death is not the end.
Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem.
Luke 9:30-31 NIV
We could probably look for a lot of symbolism in the selection of these two prophets of God, but I was recently reminded (from a lesson that was being shared on the radio) that over-symbolizing the Bible can get us off-track, and that a straightforward reading of the Bible is generally best.
Still, being careful to not get too far from the main message here, I had a few observations:
- Neither of these men’s original mortal bodies were still found on earth. Moses’ body was hidden (Deuteronomy 34:5-6), while Elijah was taken up in the whole “chariot of fire” event (2 Kings 2:11). I don’t know that this is necessarily doctrinally significant, though!
- Both of these men got to be in the presence of God: Moses at the burning bush, on Mt. Sinai, and at the tabernacle (see Exodus 3:1-6; 33:7-11; 2 Corinthians 3:7-11, as suggested by the Lookout, referenced below); and Elijah from a cave (see 1 Kings 19:9-18).
- They also knew what it was like to leave a fallen place: Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt (including the use of the Greek word, “exodus”, here), and Elijah was taken up at the end of his ministry. In both of those cases, other people were present who would need to keep the ministry going (like the disciples who were at Jesus’ transfiguration). A commentary (Asbury, referenced below) points out that Jesus is going to lead an exodus of His people “from captivity to sin and an entry into new life”.
I’m not sure how time works after we die, nor do I pretend to be certain about the sequence of events between here and Heaven. However, I do wonder if talking with Jesus was something that these two men had already done a lot of, even since their walk on this earth was ended. In any case, I think that both of them had talked with God plenty while they were ministering to the nation of Israel.
So, how about us? When we get to see Jesus in person, will our conversation just be picking up where we left off from our regular prayers, or will it take some getting used to? If the latter is true for you, today is a great day to get started. Start by talking to God right now. There are no special words that you need to say or posture that you need to take on, in order for God to hear you. Just tell Him what you are thinking, whether in your mind (which He knows, since He created you) or out loud. Ask Him to help you start a healthy conversation with Him. Then, find a pattern in your daily activities to keep the discussion going, including sharing with Him what is on your heart, and listening to Him (whether in your heart, or through reading His Word, the Bible).
As you do so, I can’t even imagine the conversations that you will have as you draw closer to Him, and walk with Him. Sometimes, He provides instructions (helping us know the right thing to do, or calling us to do something specific). Other times, He gives us encouragement, peace, and joy.
In any case, as we anticipate spending eternity with Jesus in Heaven, we may as well get a head-start on our conversation.
From Sunday School lesson prepared for December 12, 2021
- The Lookout, December 12, 2021 © 2021 Christian Standard Media.
- Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
- Asbury Bible Commentary. Copyright © 1992 by The Zondervan Corporation, via BibleGateway.com.