The Lord Jesus Praying in Luke (3): On the Mount of Transfiguration

The Lord Jesus prayed at His transfiguration (Luke 9:28-29). Luke alone tells us that when He went up into a mountain, His purpose was to pray. That was a fixed purpose with the Lord Jesus. Luke alone records, “as He prayed, the fashion of His countenance was altered” (9:29). We will not be transfigured as our Lord Jesus was, but how good it is when others can tell that we have been with Him as in Acts 4:13. “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled, and took knowledge of them that they had been with Jesus.”

The Greek word translated “transfigured” in Matthew 17:2 and Mark 9:2 (both referring to the Mount of Transfiguration) is found four times in the New Testament. It is translated “transformed” in Romans 12:2 and “changed” in 2 Corinthians 3:18. Sometimes we sing, “Take time to be holy.” If we take time to behold Him, that will make us holy.

During gospel meetings in New Jersey, we met Mrs. Terhune. She worked in an office building in New York City with about 200 other employees. One day Mr. Coogan, the traffic control manager, came up to the office where she worked. He said to her, “I know that you are close to the One above.” At first, she thought that he was referring to the fact that she was secretary to the president, but it soon became evident that he meant that she was close to God. He told her that he was supposed to get eight Pullman tickets for White Sulphur Springs in West Virginia by Friday noon. This was Wednesday. All such tickets were completely booked. “It does not look as if I can get them, but will you please pray that I can get them by Friday noon?” She promised that she would. That night as she prayed, she asked God to see to it, for His own glory, that Mr. Coogan would get tickets by Friday at noon. Even as she prayed, she was confident that God would do it. On Thursday, on the elevator, she met the assistant traffic control officer who asked her if she had prayed for the tickets the previous night. She replied that she had, and that they would get them by the Friday deadline. On Friday about 11am Mr. Coogan got on the intercom and he was filled with despair. “Every ticket is still completely booked. It doesn’t look as if we will get them.” She replied, “You will get them by noon.” Fifteen minutes later, he got on the intercom and he was a little excited. “There are whisperings that we might possibly get them.” She replied, “You will get them by noon.” At 11:45 Mr. Coogan announced on the intercom, “We got the tickets!” That incident spread through the office building like wildfire because Mrs. Terhune was in touch with God!

The Lord Jesus prayed at the return of the 70 (10:17, 20-21). They were rejoicing that the demons were subject to them in the Name of the Lord Jesus (v17). He told them, “rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven” (v20). The Lord Jesus never said that to the 12 because the 12 included Judas and Judas was never rightly related to God. He was never born again. “In that same hour He rejoiced in the Holy Spirit (RV) and said ‘I thank Thee, O Father Lord of heaven and earth that Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent and hast revealed them unto babes, even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Thy sight'” (Luke 10:21). The Lord Jesus was not contrasting educated people with uneducated, but rather people with a self-sufficient attitude with those with a childlike attitude. Christ rejoiced in the sovereign grace of God.

The Lord prayed just before teaching about prayer (11:1). This disciple was deeply impressed by the reality of Christ’s communion with the Father while He was praying. It aroused longings in the disciple’s heart to learn the secret of real prayer. I hope that we all desire to be more like the Lord Jesus in our prayer life. He requested, “Lord, teach us to pray as John also taught his disciples” (Luke 11:1).

The Savior prayed when warning Peter (Luke 22:31-32). By repeating Simon’s name, Christ was seeking to impress him with the urgency of His warning. By calling him Simon (instead of Peter), He was reminding him of his own weakness. Peter wouldn’t believe the Lord’s words about his threefold denial, but he was on the verge of proving their truth to the uttermost. Peter was overconfident, and we should all profit from Peter’s mistake. We are most vulnerable when we think we are invulnerable. We can thank God that the Lord Jesus is able to keep us from stumbling, and even from falling (Jude 24).

Christ told Peter, “Satan hath desired to have you that he may sift you as wheat” (Luke 22:31). The “you” is plural. Satan desired to have all of the disciples. The Lord told Peter, “But I have prayed for thee” (v32). “Thee” is singular. He was praying for Peter as the leader and as the one most in need of help. I am sure that He also prayed for the other 10 true disciples. Satan still needs permission to touch a child of God, just as he needed permission to touch Job. “No shaft can hit, but what the God of love sees fit.” Here we see Satan as the cunning adversary, and the Lord Jesus as the loving Intercessor. The warning in verse 31 can be connected with verse 28. “Ye are they who have continued with Me in My temptations.” In effect, Christ was telling them that they will not continue with Him in this one.

Peter denied Him three times. There is no telling how far Peter would have gone if it were not for the loving intercession of the Lord Jesus. Probably most of us will not know until home in heaven how much we owe to the intercessions of our Lord Jesus. David wrote of a good man in Psalm 37:24. “Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down for the Lord upholdeth him with His hand.”