Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Luke 9:28-36

This passage is found in the (Lutheran) Revised Common Lectionary on Transfiguration Sunday, Year C (Most recently: Feb 7, 2016)

Summary:  The Greek gives one license to drive this sermon in just about any Scriptural direction one's heart desires.  It is all there -- Baptism, end times, resurrection, even the Exodus.  The inclusion of Elijah and Moses already suggested this, but the Greek allows for all sorts of connections!

Note:  I also have a previous post on this text http://lectionarygreek.blogspot.com/2010/02/luke-928-36.html

Key words:

οκτω ("eight"; 9:28)  In the early church, the 8th day was significant because it was the day on which the resurrection and hence all Christian worship, was celebrated.  In modern times, we often think we worship on the 7th day, but really, we worship on the 8th day!  That the transfiguration happened on the 8th day means that it points toward the resurrection.

προσευχομαι ("pray"; 9:28)  Jesus prays quite a bit in Luke's Gospel, far more than in the other gospels.  (In fact, although he does pray in John's Gospel, the word is never used!)  In fact, in Luke's Gospel, Jesus is praying as the heavens are opened in his baptism.  Jesus prays other times too, but these are unique to Luke's Gospel.  This suggests that for Luke, there is a connection between prayer, baptism and the gates of heaven being opened for us.

εξαστραπτω ("shone brightly"; 9:29) The Greek for "brilliant" (his coat) has tucked within it the word "astra" like "astronomy." Jesus is bright like the stars. Interestingly, the only other place this word appears in the whole Bible is Ezekial and Daniel, perhaps a reminder that transfiguration has an eschatological bent -- it is the future breaking in and not simply the past catching up!

εξοδος ("departure"; 9:31) The word for "departure" here is literally "exodus." Moses is talking with Jesus about his exodus.  I think this continues to give Christians permission to read the paschal mystery in light of the exodus!

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