2 Six days later Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and brought them to the top of a very high mountain where they were alone. He was transformed in front of them, 3 and his clothes were amazingly bright, brighter than if they had been bleached white. 4 Elijah and Moses appeared and were talking with Jesus. 5 Peter reacted to all of this by saying to Jesus, “Rabbi, it’s good that we’re here. Let’s make three shrines—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 6 He said this because he didn’t know how to respond, for the three of them were terrified.
7 Then a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice spoke from the cloud, “This is my Son, whom I dearly love. Listen to him!” 8 Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus.
Two days ago was Transfiguration Sunday. It is recognized in many Christian traditions like that of Methodists, Lutherans, Catholics and Orthodox to name a few. An account of the Transfiguration, as seen today from the first Gospel written – the Gospel of Mark, can be found in all three Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke). Many consider the Transfiguration to be one of Jesus’ greatest miracles. It’s importance pairs with the baptism of Jesus as it is a specific example of Christ’s divinity.
All three writings on the Transfiguration are very similar with only minor detail differences. All three have the presence of Moses and Elijah as a representation of prophecy and law, all three have God’s voice saying that Jesus is God’s Son, and all three state in some way that Peter, John and James were terrified of what was happening.
Being that it’s been around 2,000 years since this took place, I think sometimes it can be easy to wonder why the disciples were always so scared or wonder why they constantly questioned who Jesus was. They’ve been hanging out with Jesus for a long time now and they’re still surprised by what He can do? Really?! But I can’t help but think about how often I myself do this: I’ve read God’s Word, I’ve experienced God’s active presence in my own life yet I still get terrified and surprised when I see or feel God at work. Why? I think some of this may stem from our constant tension with realizing that we don’t deserve God’s goodness but are given it anyway. It’s as if every time God’s grace and love smacks me in the face, I feel almost a sense of shock. Wait, you’re still willing to offer me this?
I hope I never stop being surprised or terrified or any of the large feelings that come with God’s amazing presence. Those large feelings help remind me of how much I’m loved.
By Rachel Callender
For Pondering & Prayer
When has God done something in your life that knocked the wind out of you? What did you do with those feelings?
Prayer: Larger than Life God, your Transfiguration reminds us of just how amazing you’re mercy and forgiveness is. We give thanks for your ceaseless love and presence. Amen.