Chapter 9 marks a decisive moment in the life of Jesus in Luke’s Gospel. A few verses after the current text (v.51) we have Jesus setting out for Jerusalem with a steely determination to carry out the final part of His Father’s will. With this knowledge in mind we can pair the Transfiguration of Jesus with His Baptism as the signs that indicate the proximity of a change in the mission or life of Jesus.

At Jesus’ Baptism a voice is heard from heaven bestowing the Father’s blessing on Jesus, His Son. The same is true of the Transfiguration. Thus, the Baptism and Transfiguration are used by Luke to affirm the divine mandate upon the life of Jesus and His mission. What can we learn from this for our own lives?

Both of the above epiphanies (manifestations of God’s presence) affirm our faith and everything that we are meant to be as Christians. In that we are all disciples of Jesus, we are all given a blessing by the Father that will enable us to accomplish His will in our lives. We are not left on our own. Here we are assured of God’s blessing and presence as long as we remain obedient to His will.

The following change in direction for Jesus, He is now headed toward Jerusalem and inevitable confrontation with the Jewish leaders (9:51), indicates the absolute imperative of obedience in the Christian life. Without it we are doomed to failure. We cannot survive on our own. The only way to remain faithful to following Jesus is to put aside our own desires and will or, at the very least, to submit them to the greater imperative of God’s will.

It is here that we learn this vital lesson of obedience. At Jesus Baptism we see how His life takes a new direction away from the conformability of a home life, through the temptations in the desert and into a life of ministry. After the Transfiguration we see Jesus head towards Jerusalem. In the garden of Gethsemane we see Him submit His desires to those of His Father. Jesus is the perfect example of obedience that culminates in His cry from the cross in John’s Gospel – It is finished (19:30).

What importance do I give to obedience in my walk of faith? Is my life really submitted to God’s will, or do I tend to do what I want and as much of what God wants me to do as I can fit around my will?

Holy Spirit, you were sent to keep me honest in my spiritual life. You were sent to reveal to me the truth. Help me to live by the truth and to remain faithful to my call all the days of my life.