Matthew 17:1-9 – The last Sunday of Epiphany & the Transfiguration – for Sunday, March 2, 2014
“And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun . . .” (Matthew 17:20)
Jesus’ transfiguration was a central moment in the Gospels.
On a mountaintop, his “face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white.” Suddenly the old lawgiver Moses appeared. Suddenly the old prophet Elijah appeared. In those bright seconds, disciples Peter and James and John would witness a conversation between the carpenter from Nazareth and two pillars of their faith. And then the stunned disciples would hear the Holy voice, in the midst of cloud and glory, declaring Jesus as “my Son, the Beloved.”
It was real!
It was a dream!
It was metaphor!
It was literal!
It was a mountaintop moment, where what they had been and what they were to become had clarity. Purpose. Meaning. Now with Jesus “alone”—Moses gone, Elijah gone, the Holy voice an echo—they tramped down the mountain. In the accounts of Mark, Matthew and Luke, the transfiguration—with its startling confirmation of Jesus’ transformation of the old law into the new, of the old way of prophets’ dreaming into the new way of God’s doing—sealed the deal. The disciples were instructed to keep quiet, to “tell no one about the vision” until later . . . but they were in on the “secret.” From the mountain, it was on to Jerusalem, on to destiny, on to challenging the religious authorities, on to confronting Roman power, onto revealing the eternal, intimate, expansive, abundant nature of God’s love.
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