Godpel Reading: Matthew 17:1-9
1 And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain apart. 2 And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his garments became white as light. 3 And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Eli'jah, talking with him. 4 And Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it is well that we are here; if you wish, I will make three booths here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Eli'jah." 5 He was still speaking, when lo, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him." 6 When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces, and were filled with awe. 7 But Jesus came and touched them, saying, "Rise, and have no fear." 8 And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only. 9 And as they were coming down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, "Tell no one the vision, until the Son of man is raised from the dead."
Old Testament Reading: Genesis 12:1-4a
1 Now the LORD said to Abram, "Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who curses you I will curse; and by you all the families of the earth shall bless themselves." 4 So Abram went, as the LORD had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.
Meditation: Are you prepared to see the glory of the Lord and to share in his glory as well? God made a promise to Abraham that he would make him a channel of great blessing not only to his own family and future descendants but to all the families of the earth as well (Genesis 12:3)! The condition for the fulfillment of this promise was simple and straightforward - "Go from your family and country to the land that I will show you" (Genesis 12:1). Abraham not only believed in God's promise, he promptly obeyed and did as the Lord commanded him. God chose Abraham as his instrument of blessing - that through him and his descendants would come the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ who would reaveal the glory and blessing of God's kingdom and bring salvation for all who would call upon his name.
The Lord Jesus is the fulfillment of all the promises made to Abraham and to his spiritual descendants. In all that Jesus did and said he sought to please his Father and to bring him glory. LikeAbraham, he was ready to part with anything that might stand in the way of doing the will of God. He knew that the success of his mission would depend on his willingness to embrace his Father's will not matter what it might cost him. He had prophesied three times to his disciples that he would undergo suffering and death on a cross to fulfill that mission. As the time draws near for Jesus's ultimate sacrifice, he takes three of his beloved disciples to top of a high mountain. Just as Moses and Elijah were led to the mountain of God to discern their ultimate call and mission, so Jesus now appears with Moses and Elijah on the highest mountain overlooking the summit of the promised land. Matthew's gospel tells us that Jesus was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his garments became white as light (Matthew 17:2).
Why did Jesus appear in dazzling light with Moses and Elijah? The book of Exodus tells us that when Moses had met with God on Mount Sinai the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God (Exodus 34:29). Paul the Apostle wrote that the Israelites could not look at Moses' face because of its brightness (2 Corinthians 3:7). After Elijah, the geatest of the prophets, had destroyed priests and idols of Baal, he took refuge on mountain of God at Sinai. There God showd Elijah his glory in great thunder, wirlwind, and fire, and then spok with him in a still quiet voice: In so many words God questioned Elijah, "What are you doing here?" And then directed him to go and fulfill the mission which he sent to accomplish for the sake of God's name. Jesus, likewise, appears in glory with Moses and Elijah, as if to confirm with them that he, too, is ready to fulfill the mission which he Father has sent him to accomplish.
Jesus went to the mountain knowing full well what awaited him in Jerusalem - his betrayal, rejection and crucifixion. Jesus very likely discussed this momentous decision to go to the cross with Moses and Elijah. God the Father also spoke with Jesus and gave his approval: This is my beloved Son; listen to him. The Father glorified his son because he was faithful and willing to obey him in everything. The cloud which overshadowed Jesus and his apostles fulfilled the dream of the Jews that when the Messiah came the cloud of God's presence would fill the temple again (see Exodus 16:10, 19:9, 33:9; 1 Kings 8:10; 2 Maccabees 2:8).
The Lord Jesus not only wants us to see his glory - he wants to share this glory with us. And Jesus shows us the way to the Father's glory - "follow me" - "obey my words." Take the path I have chosen for you and you will receive the blessing of my Father's kingdom - your name, too, will be written in heaven." Jesus fulfilled his mission on Calvary where he died for our sins so that Paradise and everlasting life would be restored to us. He embraced the cross to win a crown of glory that awaits each one of us, if we, too, will follow in his footsteps.
Origen (185-254 AD), a noted early church bible scholar and teacher, explains the significance of Jesus' transfiguration for our lives:
"When he is transfigured, his face also shines as the sun that he may be manifested to the children of light who have put off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light, and are no longer the children of darkness or night but have become the sons of day, and walk honestly as in the day. Being manifest, he will shine unto them not simply as the sun, but as demonstrated to be the sun of righteousness."Luke's gospel tells us that while Jesus was transfigured, Peter, James, and John were asleep (Luke 9:32)! Upon awakening they discovered Jesus in glory along with Moses and Elijah. How much do we miss of God's glory and action because we are asleep spiritually? There are many things which can keep our minds asleep to the things of God: Mental lethargy and the "unexamined life" can keep us from thinking things through and facing our doubts and questions. The life of ease can also hinder us from considering the challenging or disturbing demands of Christ. Prejudice can make us blind to something new the Lord may have for us. Even sorrow can be a block until we can see past it to the glory of God. Are you spiritually awake? Peter, James, and John were privileged witnesses of the glory of Christ. We, too, as disciples of Christ are called to be witnesses of his glory. We all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18). The Lord wants to reveal his glory to us, his beloved disciples. Do you seek his presence with faith and reverence?
"Lord Jesus, keep me always alert to you, to your word, your action, and your daily presence in my life. Let me see your glory."
1 Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the
2 Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart,
3 who also do no wrong, but walk in his ways!
4 You have commanded youry precepts to be kept diligently.
5 O that my ways may be steadfast in keeping your statutes!
6 Then I shall not be put to shame, having my eyes fixed on all your commandments.
7 I will praise youe with an upright heart, when I learn your righteous ordinances.
8 I will observe your statutes; O forsake me not utterly!
A Daily Quote for Lent: The unchangeable Light, by Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, 354-430 A.D.
"I entered into my inmost self with You, Lord, as my guide. And this
I was able to do because You were my helper. I entered in and saw with
the eye of my soul, the unchangeable Light, very different from earthly
lights. It was above my mind but not the way oil is above water or heaven
above the earth. It was superior because it made me, and I inferior because
I was made by it Those who know the truth know this light, and those who
iknow it know etrnity - it is charity that knows it." (excerpt
from Confessions 7,10)
Scripture quotations from
Common Bible: Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1973, and
Ignatius Edition of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright
2006, by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of
the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission.
All rights reserved.
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