February 8, 2010

the devil might really be in the details

I'll admit it. I think I'm beginning to fall in love with Luke. His care for the outcast and oppressed; it's nice. His balance between Jew and Gentile; enjoyable. His use of detail; divine. This weekend, the last before the journey of Lent begins, tells the story, as always, of the Transfiguration of Jesus in front of Peter, James, and John. But in Luke's account, we find out that Peter isn't the bumbling fool of Mark and Matthew, wanting to build booths for no apparent reason. Instead, he and his friends are so sleep deprived that he doesn't know what he is saying.

Which leads me to the title for today's post, the devil might really be in the details. I am usually first aboard the "let's poke fun at the stupid disciples" ship. They spend three years with Jesus. They saw him die and then saw him alive. And even to the moment before his ascension, they still wonder when he'll pull an army together to run Rome out of town.

But Luke's account of the Transfiguration has given me pause. What if, in the midst of those three very intense, travel-heavy years, the disciples were just so tired that they just could not put the pieces together? I'm probably saying this because of my own state of exhaustion, but seriously, do you think Luke offers up that detail for no reason? I really think that the disciples inability to comprehend what Jesus was up to can be related to a lack of sleep; the devil really is in the details.

If this is in anyway plausible, then there is a strong teaching for all of us who profess to follow Christ, but work/play/family too much. The fullness of our relationship with him is not possible without rest and a clear head. I mean Jesus, Elijah and Moses are talking about his death right in front of them, in plain Hebrew (or maybe the King's English), and the three disciples on scene are oblivious.

Sleep is not for the weak my friends, it is for the wise. Take care of yourselves, and be strengthened for the Kingdom.

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