28Now about eight days after these sayings Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray.??29And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white.??30Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him.??31They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.??32Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him.33Just as they were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, ???Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah??? ???not knowing what he said.??34While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud.??35Then from the cloud came a voice that said, ???This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!?????36When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they had seen.
Jesus is dazzling in glory, standing upon the mountain top, surrounded by the two greatest prophets of all time???Moses and Elijah. ??God was WITH these men, doing mighty works and showing his hand through their obedience and example. ??And now, the disciples see that God is with Jesus, and they hear the voice from heaven exclaim, ???This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!??? ??These words remind us of Jesus??? baptism, when after he comes up from the river we hear the voice from heaven saying in Luke 3, ???You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.??? ??This connection between baptism and the transfiguration is important, but why? ??Because there is a unity that we need to understand in these two events. ??There is a WITH-NESS that we find in both baptism and in Jesus??? transfiguration. ??God is with us in Jesus Christ, through our baptism and through our putting on his transfigured glory through a Christ-like life.
In baptism we understand that we die to our old ways; the life we were living apart from the saving grace of God is gone. ??Listen to St. Paul???s words in Romans 6.1???11,??
???1 What then are we to say? Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound? ??2 By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it? ??3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? ??4 Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. ??5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. ??6 We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. ??7 For whoever has died is freed from sin. ??8 But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. ??9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. ??10 The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. ??11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
What is there to say that Paul hasn???t already told us here? ??Through baptism, we are united with Jesus, in both his death and his resurrection. ??God???s desire for his creation is that it be redeemed, that it find its wholeness and its purpose through the redemption and forgiveness he offers. ??Through baptism, we find the beginning of our journey. ??Our faces are set toward God through this moment of cleansing, of healing, of fellowship with both God and his Church, the body of Christ. ??And this baptism points us toward eternal glory, it re-orients our hearts, re-prioritizes our purpose, and re-forms our minds.
And so, in the transfiguration we have our hope of resurrection realized; we have in this display of a dazzling???white???Jesus a window into what eternal life is really like, when we will, as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15.50???55,??
???50 What I am saying, brothers and sisters, is this: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. ??51 Listen, I will tell you a mystery! We will not all die, but we will all be changed, ??52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. ??53 For this perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality. ??54 When this perishable body puts on imperishability, and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled: ???Death has been swallowed up in victory.??? ??55 ???Where, O death, is your victory? ??Where, O death, is your sting????
Again, Paul has said it all. ??But Peter, James, and John see Jesus that day as he will be in heaven. ??Their very dreams come true as Jesus provides a window into God???s intentions for all of us. ??God desires that we be saved from this body of death and that we put on a life that is spiritual and real; a life that is fueled by the power of the Holy Spirit. ??Jesus on the mountain, transfigured, is the image that we are to hold at the center of our hearts as we live out the life of a baptized person. ??We are made clean through our baptism and each and every day are being transfigured, being made more and more into the image of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
WHAT WE MUST DO
If we are baptized, then we are to live a redeemed life; a life that has buried the old ways, the former sins, and has moved into a total dependence upon God. ??We must live NOW with resurrection power because our hope of new life has been brought close in Jesus Christ, the One who not only has shown us on the mountain what a life of glory looks like, but He has come to live it within our hearts and give us all we need today. ??My banner verse, which many of you should know by heart by now, from John 14.23, ???Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.??? ??
Through Baptism, the trash of our hearts is taken out as we welcome in Jesus and his grace as permanent residents within ourselves. ??Baptism sets our face toward the glory that Jesus showed his disciples on that mountain and then Jesus challenges us to live out that glory as a faithful disciple, here and now. ??If you want to know what heaven is really like, then see Jesus transfigured, in all his glory. ??This is what awaits you, the faithful. ??Today, draw close to God and he will dra
w close you. ??Be baptized if you have not and begin your journey of grace. ??If you have already, then commit today to set your eyes on the author and perfecter of our faith and live as Christ lives. ??Glory awaits us. ??Look to Jesus. ??Amen.