2Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, 3and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. 4And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. 5Then Peter said to Jesus, ???Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.??? 6He did not know what to say, for they were terrified. 7Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, ???This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!??? 8Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus. 9As they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them to tell no one about what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead.
A short meditation this morning before we share in communion together…
Can you imagine? You go up to the top of mountain with a man who has done things no one has ever seen. He???s given eyes to the blind, legs to the lame, and life to the dead. And then, it gets really good. He???s taken up, his clothes glistening and white, and talking to two of the greatest Biblical figures in history. It just doesn???t get much better than that. But what was this scene all about? This scene is about ???who Jesus is,??? signifying to Peter, James, John, and the reader that Jesus is more than a teacher of the law or a worker of miracles, but that he is truly the Son of God, who takes away the sins of the world.
And so, looking at this scene, we first see that Jesus is transfigured, meaning that in the eyes of the disciples looking on, he goes from being a humble servant of the people to becoming a radiant vision of the glory of God. What is revealed in his brilliant glory is not just a vision to gawk at, but rather a window into what a resurrected, glorified Jesus looks like. And with this revelation, we too have an idea of what it means for us to follow after Jesus in his resurrection. This picture foreshadows for us what life is like when we are raised in Jesus Christ. It reveals a time when we as Children of God will no longer suffer from the effects of sin, from the addictions that plague our lives, from the sorrows that fill our hearts. The resurrection is a time of great celebration and each of us should see this event as a future hope that represents the end of the old world and the beginning of a new life in Jesus.
Second, Jesus is surrounded by the company of two Biblical heroes, Moses and Elijah. Both characters??? significance is crucial to Jesus??? identity and mission. Moses??? presence represents the law, the standard by which God???s people are called apart to live lives that are to be a beacon of hope to the world. Moses is God???s priest, the one who meets with God on the mountain covered in clouds. Elijah???s presence represents the prophets, the ones who call God???s people back into relationship with God through repentance. Elijah performed many works of God, similar to those of Jesus himself. And Elijah was the one who instead of tasting death, was taken up into heaven. Moses, the priest???Elijah, the prophet; and now, Jesus the king, the one who embodies within himself both the law and the prophets. Jesus is the fulfillment of both of these servants??? work, and not just these but all those saints who came and lived, serving God with their lives and their love for God.
Third we have the voice that comes from the cloud exclaiming, ???This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!??? God himself speaks, confirming Jesus??? identity and role. Jesus has come to teach the people, through his life and through his instruction, and to make of them the beacon of hope that God has desired they be for the world. This is the Church???s role, to be the hope of the world through Jesus Christ. It is Jesus that we listen to, the Beloved Son of God, sent to be our Shepherd and our Savior. The voice has blessed and anointed him and so we are to make Jesus our focus and our center. Listening to Jesus is not only the encouragement, but it is also the warning. There are many voices for us to listen to and more often than not the greatest competitor to the voice of God is our own voice. We must be careful not to follow our own hearts but to follow after the heart of Christ, the one that has bled for us so that we might have life.
And so, it really WAS good for Peter, James, and John to be there, because now, after having seen this sight and having looked into their future, they now have what they need in order to be faithful witnesses to the glory of God and the hope of resurrection. Personally, I???m thankful for their presence there, that they could take in and pass on the glory that Jesus reflected on that mountain. Having seen this qualifies them to lead the Church in a ministry that preaches the glory of God to come.
But what does Jesus tell them as they are coming down the mountain? It says, ???he ordered them to tell no one about what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead.??? How are they supposed to sit on this? With all of its significance, all of its splendor, and they are supposed to wait? I say…THIS IS GOOD. Because now they have time to sit with what they???ve seen and heard, to let it sink down, deep down, and they can begin to digest their experience so that it can inform their hearts and their souls. They can follow after Mary, the mother of Jesus, and treasure this moment and ponder this event in their heart.
And now, as we turn to Holy Communion this morning, you have the opportunity to ponder its significance, its message, and its grace for you this morning. Do not merely read the words today but speak them from your heart and with your voice, joining with those around you this morning, knowing that Christ has set his table for you. Let us prepare our hearts…
Rev. Whit R. Martin
Pastor, New Liberty United Methodist Church
Devotional Blog ??? devoblog.posterous.com