Today’s Reading: Mark 9
“And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power.” And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. And Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” For he did not know what to say, for they were terrified. And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.” And suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them but Jesus only. Mark 9:1-8
Hello readers, I’m so happy to write to you again on a Monday morning. We have something big to talk about today, the transfiguration of Jesus. I know, that is just so much for a Monday! So, what on earth is happening here? Let’s start with the whole concept of transfiguration. The word transfiguration comes from the Latin term transfiguratiowhich refers to the experience of momentary divine radiance. Jesus’ core group of disciples Peter, James and John accompany Jesus on an arduous journey up a mountain. When they reach the top they witness the transfiguration of Jesus as well as the appearance of both Moses and Elijah the prophet. The three of them together inherently tell the story of the promise of a life beyond what can be seen and experienced on earth. Moses and Elijah had mysterious deaths as chronicled in the Old Testament. Elijah went physically with his whole body into heaven (2 Kings 2:9-12) and Moses’ grave was never found as he was buried by God himself (Deuteronomy 34:4-7). The Jews viewed the appearance of these two pillars of faith to be a sign of the end of days. It’s not an accident that the three of them appear together. Then suddenly the disciples hear God’s voice, “This is my beloved son; listen to Him.” Mark 9:8. Moses and Elijah disappear and Jesus is the only one left. They then begin back down the mountain and Jesus warns his disciples not to share what they have seen until the Son of Man has risen from the dead. What a crazy day on the mountain!
How can we, as modern disciples of Christ make sense of this transfiguration story and apply it to life today? First and most important we recognize Christ’s transfiguration as a sign of hope as the gospel of Mark moves toward the passion. Second, we can draw the conclusion that Jesus’ predictions of betrayal, death and resurrection are accurate. That we can trust His word when He says He will return for us. Finally, this episode at the top of the mountain is evidence to us of God’s faithfulness. God does not leave us without help, guidance and most importantly He does not leave us without hope. Although it may seem that we wait endlessly for God to appear in our own life, maybe we need to trust in the glimpse that others have had. Jesus did not take all 12 apostles to the top of the mountain. But that glimpse is nonetheless a gift to all of us.
When the glory and excitement of that mountaintop moment faded away; Peter, James and John were left with a difficult reality. They had a responsibility to lead the rest of the disciples while their Messiah was dying on the cross. Are we strong enough and brave enough to lead in those dark moments when what’s left is the memory of hope? As we walk in His footsteps, not able to see Him but only remembering His promise, are we still transformed by the vision of Him? The transfiguration of Jesus wasn’t just for Peter, James and John. It was for all of us. We are called to be light and hope for a world that has not seen and has not heard. We are called to dig deep and find that light within our soul, listen to Him and let the vision transform us.