What Was That Conversation About?

by Herman Crawford

I have been reading Francis Schaffer’s book True Spirituality (copyright 1971). I think this is about my third time reading this particular book. That is unusual for me. Normally when I read a book for study purposes, I take notes and then use the notes for future reference rather than read the book again. But True Spirituality seems to be a little different for me. Some might say that the book is deep, has a lot of substance, etc. That is probably a very good description because each time I read this book, I find something which I feel is key but had missed during the previous reads.

What has caught my attention in the reading thus far are a couple of things that have to do with the death of Christ. Schaffer asks the question: “How central was Christ’s death for our redemption?” In the book of Luke, the event of Jesus up on the Mount of Transfiguration meeting with Moses and Elijah is recorded. Now I know that I have read this before but it is one of those passages which I read, but didn’t really READ. In Chapter 9:30-31, Luke writes, “And behold, two men were talking with Him; and they were Moses and Elijah, who, appearing in glory, were speaking of His departure, which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.”

Scripture does not tell us how long Jesus and His disciples were on the mountain but it must have been for some period of time. The disciples, as the disciples did in the Garden when Jesus was arrested, became tired and were overcome with sleep. Schaffer’s question is being answered while they slept. Jesus, Moses and Elijah were discussing “His departure.” This was not about leaving the Mount, it was not about leaving Jerusalem or Galilee or any other Israeli town or city. It was about leaving this earth for His place at the right hand of God the Father. But I think it was even more than that. I think maybe it was about how the departure process would happen. The arrest, the trial, the carrying of the Cross, the crucifixion, what took place during the time of His death, the burial and finally the resurrection. Essentially, the Easter story, but in the kind of detail that I cannot not even imagine. How important His departure must have been to spend time in this kind of detailed conversation about it – and probably a good deal of time if the disciples slept through it. Francis Schaffer points out that the death of Christ was central to the work of Christ. The prophets spoke of it in the Old Testament and here we have Jesus, Moses and Elijah talking about it in the New Testament.

So then, perhaps each of you should read the story of the transfiguration. Answer the question for yourselves. What would your/our redemption have looked like without the “departure” of Christ? What do you think Jesus, Moses and Elijah might have been discussing in their conversation?

Father God, thank you for loving us. Thank you for giving what you loved most, your Son Jesus, for us. We thank you for the power of the resurrection, which now enables us to join you, both now and in eternity. Amen.

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