This Sunday is a special Sunday with a big word for the title: Transfiguration 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: 1-8, 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.
About a week after Jesus had told His disciples that He would suffer, be killed, and be raised back to life, He 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.” Moses and Elijah appeared and talked with Jesus about His death that would soon take place. Peter was afraid and confused, so he offered to put up three shelters for them because he wanted to stay in that glorious moment. But just then a cloud enveloped them, and God’s voice from heaven said, “This is My Son, whom I have chosen and whom I love; listen to Him.” Then the cloud was gone, and Moses and Elijah had disappeared. Jesus was all alone with His disciples. They were still very much confused and even afraid. 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 understanding of who Jesus was. His Disciples knew Him in His human body – a special man, but they didn’t realize at this point His relationship to God, His heavenly Father. 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.” (John 1:14) Peter later wrote about them being eyewitnesses to Christ’s majesty. (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” 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.