Sleeping Disciples null by Louisa Anne, Marchioness of Waterford 1818-1891

In the Transfiguration of Jesus Christ (Luke 9:28-36) from the Gospel for the Second Sunday in Lent,  the disciples become drowsy:

[28] Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. [29] And as he was praying, the appearance of his countenance was altered, and his raiment became dazzling white.  [30] And behold, two men talked with him, Moses and Eli’jah,  [31] who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was to accomplish at Jerusalem. [32] Now Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep, and when they wakened they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. [33] And as the men were parting from him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is well that we are here; let us make three booths, one for you and one for Moses and one for Eli’jah” — not knowing what he said. [34] As he said this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. [35] And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!” [36] And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silence and told no one in those days anything of what they had seen.

The greatness of Jesus is contrasted with the human weakness of the disciples:

  • The Transfiguration, one of the most impressive events in recorded human history is about to occur, and the disciples are falling asleep.
  • In contrast, Jesus is wide awake, ready, as always, to proclaim the Gospel; in this case, by entering into the Transfiguration.
  • Jesus has incredible stamina, perhaps a supernatural energy that allows Him to keep an incredibly demanding schedule.  The disciples were men used to working hard as fishermen, and keeping all kinds of crazy hours (they sometimes fish all night: Luke 5:5 ); and yet, they can’t keep up with the stamina of Jesus.
  • This is not the last time the disciples almost miss a big event: these same three disciples will be dozing at Gethsemane (Matt 26:40).

Jesus is a man of incredible physical stamina and power.

The fact that He is both the Son of God and the Son of Man (the greatest of men) explains it.