Resurrection Sunday is about to be celebrated around the world. Easter Sunday is a time for us to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. It’s a time to participate in new life, in the salvation we have and hope in eternal life. But leading up to the resurrection was the betrayal and death of Jesus. It was a dark moment in history. In fact, Jesus said to his captors, “When I was with you day after day in the temple, you did not lay hands on me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness” (Luke 22:53 ESV).
The events leading up to Jesus’ revealing of his death were mountaintop experiences, literally. Luke records that the transfiguration happened just prior to this. Jesus took Peter, James, and John up on a mountain and began to pray. As he prayed, his clothes became dazzling white, his appearance changed, and Moses and Elijah appeared. This moment was frozen in time for the three disciples. A cloud enveloped them and a voiced boomed, “This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!” (Luke 9:35).
The very next day a man pleaded with Jesus to heal his only son. The boy was possessed by a violent demon that would seize him, convulse him, and shatter him. Jesus’ disciples had already attempted to cast the demon out but were unsuccessful. So Jesus healed the boy, and handed him back to his father. There was no question at this point about the power and compassion of Jesus. At this point, he seemed invincible to everyone around, including the disciples.
Luke records what happened next: “While they were all marveling at everything he was doing, Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men.'” (Luke 9:43, 44). Jesus, of course, was referring to his death. But his disciples didn’t know what he meant and they began to argue about which of them was greater than the other.
“But Jesus, knowing the reasoning of their hearts, took a child and put him by his side and said to them, ‘Whoever receives this child in my name receives him who sent me. For he who is least among you all is the one who is great” (Luke 9:48). Jesus was reminding them that he was going to die, that being great means being the least of all, and that welcoming little ones in the name of Christ is their purpose. It’s a great reminder for all of us as we think about what matters entering into the Resurrection Sunday.