Now about eight days after these sayings Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. Luke 9:28-29 (NRSV)
I have always found it interesting that a skyscraper will never have a thirteenth floor. The elevator will have a button for the twelfth floor and the fourteenth floor but no stop for the thirteenth floor because there is no thirteenth floor. The reason is that in our society thirteen is considered an unlucky number just as seven is considered a lucky one. The Jews placed greater value on numbers than we do. Every time you see a number in the Bible it should cause you to pause and consider why is the number there? The story of Jesus transfiguration begins in Luke with “about eight days after these sayings”. What’s even more interesting is that Luke changes the “six days” that are in Matthew and Mark’s gospel to eight. So the question is why? Our text gives us clues. The eight days took place “after these sayings”. The sayings that Luke is referring to is Jesus announcement that he is going to Jerusalem to suffer and die. A second clue is that Jesus appearance changed to “dazzling white”. The same Greek word is used in Luke’s resurrection appearance where two men appear whose clothing are “dazzling white” (see Luke 24:4). Back to the eight days. God created the world in seven days so the eighth day is the beginning or first day of a week. It was on the eighth day or first day of the week that Jesus resurrection took place. I believe Luke was reminding us that after Jesus suffering and death the eighth day would be the day of resurrection, a day when Jesus would appear again in all his glory. Next week we begin the season of Lent, the season of the church year in which we ponder Jesus death on the cross. For some it can become a very somber time. But we always need to remember that after Good Friday comes the eighth day, the first day of the week, the day of the resurrection. It is also important to remember that we too go through our own periods of suffering, hardships and difficulties. At times the darkness seems to overwhelm us. It is at times like this that we don’t have to rely on a lucky seven to get us through. Rather, we can remember the number eight, the first day of the week and know that our times of suffering and difficulties will come to an end. We as Christians have hope because of the eighth day. We get a glimpse of that hope as we see Jesus clothes become dazzling white on the Mount of Transfiguration.