Transfiguration Sunday | March 3, 2019
About eight days later Jesus took Peter, John, and James up on a mountain to pray. And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was transformed, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly, two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared and began talking with Jesus. They were glorious to see. And they were speaking about his exodus from this world, which was about to be fulfilled in Jerusalem.
Peter and the others had fallen asleep. When they woke up, they saw Jesus’ glory and the two men standing with him. As Moses and Elijah were starting to leave, Peter, not even knowing what he was saying, blurted out, “Master, it’s wonderful for us to be here! Let’s make three shelters as memorials—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”But even as he was saying this, a cloud overshadowed them, and terror gripped them as the cloud covered them.
Then a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, my Chosen One.Listen to him.” When the voice finished, Jesus was there alone. They didn’t tell anyone at that time what they had seen.
Luke 9:28-36 New Living Translation (NLT)
Transfiguration Sunday – the final Sunday in the season that follows Epiphany. It is a season that celebrates light – a season that celebrates the mission of Jesus (we have been looking at that over the last many weeks – and a because it celebrates the mission of Jesus – we also celebrate the mission of the Church.
Most of our scriptures during this season have been from the Gospel of Luke and today is no exception. The transfiguration occurs at least a week (8 days) after Jesus feeds the 5,000, Peter’s declaration about Jesus, which is followed by Jesus stern warning not to tell anyone – but then He also tells the disciples of his impending death. For eight days, Luke does not record anything about what happens in Jesus’ life – but then — he presents us with the transfiguration account.
Jesus takes Peter, James, and John to a mountain. These three disciples make up Jesus’ inner circle. We know Peter was impetuous and James and John were known as the Sons of Thunder. It reminds us that Jesus uses imperfect humans to fulfill his mission.
Jesus goes off to pray – and the disciples fall asleep. Interesting, this won’t be the last time this happens when Jesus goes to pray. Jesus is praying, when suddenly Moses and Elijah show up – and Jesus face is transformed, and his clothes become dazzling white. This past week, we had some brand new snow and on one of those days the sun came out – yes, it was bright, but probably not as bright as Jesus was on the Mount of Transfiguration. I think that it is interesting that Moses and Elijah show up – because Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law (which Moses represents) and the Prophets (which Elijah represents). The three of them are having a discussion when the disciples wake up. Peter being the impetuous one is amazed and when Moses and Elijah start to leave Peter blurts out, “Master, it’s wonderful for us to be here…” As Peter begins making all kinds of plans to memorialize the place, a cloud of glory descends – and the disciple become afraid.
God the Father is about to speak, “This is my Chosen One. (The Messiah) Listen to Him.” I know that I would be shaking in my boots, as I’m sure Peter, James, and John were. Imagine the opportunity of being in the presence of God. There they were with God in the flesh (Jesus), and they were sleeping – It seems they missed part of the conversation between Jesus and Moses and Elijah. They were talking about how Jesus would leave this world – and how God’s plan would be fulfilled in the coming days as Jesus traveled to Jerusalem.
This is a great reminder that we need to be ready to be on God’s mission at all times. Yes, Jesus reminded us we need to rest, but the mission of broadcasting light is an important one. It is a mission that continued – even after Jesus left the earth – and continues on in us. I think there are times – especially after a good worship service that we would rather do what the disciples did and just continue to worship, but the Father reminds us that there is work to be done – people need to hear the wonderful Gospel message that Jesus came to take away our sins – that Jesus came to reconcile people to himself – more on that on Wednesday. As we worship tomorrow, remember it is good to do that – but as we look forward to the Lenten season – as we remember Christ and his suffering – as we remember the redeeming work that was done on the cross – his death – so that we may be saved from ourselves – that there is also much work to be done to broadcast the message of Jesus to the world.