The Transfiguration painting by Pietro Perugino, 1500

The Transfiguration painting by Pietro Perugino, 1500

Throughout Epiphany season we explore the unfolding revelation of who Jesus is – his identity; and what he was doing – his mission. 

In some liturgical calendars, the last Sunday in Epiphany commemorates the Transfiguration. Here’s the story.

The Transfiguration – Matthew 17:1-8 (ESV)
Six days later Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John the brother of James, and led them privately up a high mountain. 2 And he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. 3 Then Moses and Elijah also appeared before them, talking with him. 4 So Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you want, I will make three shelters—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my one dear Son, in whom I take great delight. Listen to him!” 6 When the disciples heard this, they were overwhelmed with fear and threw themselves down with their faces to the ground. 7 But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Do not be afraid.” 8 When they looked up, all they saw was Jesus alone.

The Transfiguration is literally a culminating mountain top experience. Heaven touches earth. Jesus face shone and his clothes were bright white as light. He is being glorified.

Jesus confers with the Law and the Prophets – Moses and Elijah. He has come to fulfill their work. Now, his mission will rapidly descend to the finishing work of the cross.

Peter tries to think of the right response, the religious thing to do,  and says – “let’s build a memorial!”

No, not that.

A bright cloud engulfs Peter, James and John, Then they hear the voice of God from the cloud.

The Father is confirming the identity of his Son, just as he did at Jesus’ baptism.

“This is my dear Son in whom I take great delight. Listen to Him!”

Affirmed by his Father in private, Jesus will soon be heralded by the crowds in public, if only for a brief moment. He will triumphantly enter Jerusalem as they acclaim,  “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!”

The three amigos mind is blown. “Overwhelmed with fear”, they prostrate themselves face down. Jesus comes to them – just as he does for us, touches them and imparts courage to them.

“Get up. Don’t be afraid”

Those rare times when we experience something exceptional, when we see God as real and active in our reality, are not so that we cower in shame and fear, but to rise up with courage and follow Him – to the cross.

Teach us to walk in your ways Lord!

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About Season Of Light

I am writing a devotional series called “Season of Light” (#SeasonOfLife) during the beginning of 2016, focusing on the 40 day season of Epiphany (from January 6 – February 10). We’ll explore the major biblical themes of the beginning of Jesus ministry, and I’ll comment as the Holy Spirit inspires. This is for the purpose of growing in our relationship with the Lord. My desire – my hope and prayer for you – is that your heart may expand and your spirit grow brighter as we seek to be filled with the knowledge and presence of God. So, I invite you to join me on the “Season of Light” journey!