This Sunday is a special Sunday with a big word for the title: Transfiguration of the Lord Sunday. Transfiguration means a complete change in form or appearance into a more beautiful or spiritual state, to be transformed. Our Bible story this week is taken from Matthew 17:1-9 but it is also found in the books of Mark and Luke too. It’s a story about Jesus and three of His disciples taking a hike up a mountain and what happens there.
Jesus had told His disciples that He would suffer, be killed, and be raised back to life. They didn’t understand this, so about a week later, Jesus took Peter, James, and John up a mountain with Him to pray. While they were praying, Jesus’ appearance was changed, and His clothing became dazzling white. He was “transfigured.” Then suddenly two men appeared, Moses and Elijah, and they began talking with Jesus about His death that would soon take place. Peter was afraid and confused, but he offered to put up three shelters for them because he very much wanted to stay in that glorious moment. But just then a cloud closed around them, and God’s voice from heaven said, “This is My Son, whom I have chosen and whom I love; listen to Him.” The cloud disappeared along with Moses and Elijah. Jesus was all alone with His disciples. They still didn’t understand all that had happened, and they were even afraid. Then Jesus warned them not to tell anyone what they had seen until after His resurrection.
Jesus wanted these three trusted Disciples to see Him in at least a part of His heavenly glory, so they could gain a greater comprehension of who Jesus was. Only by seeing Jesus transfigured into His true self, could they begin to understand and be reassured after hearing of the shocking news of His coming death.
The Disciples never forgot what happened that day on the mountain. John wrote in his gospel later, “We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only,” in John 1:14. Peter later wrote about them being eyewitnesses to Christ’s majesty in 2 Peter 1: 16. These three who saw Jesus in His true wonder told not only the others Disciples when the time came but also countless millions down through the centuries through their writings of just who Christ really was – our Savior and Redeemer, God’s Son. Never forget that Jesus can “transfigure” (completely change) us too into His holy children.
Let’s say a prayer. Dear Jesus, please help us to remember who You really are – our Savior, Redeemer, and Friend. You are truly God’s Son who came to earth to save us and now You wait for us in heaven. Help us to be transfigured and changed into children who love and serve You always. In Your name we pray. Amen.
Ann Moody is pastor of Wilkesville First Presbyterian Church and the Middleport First Presbyterian Church.