Transfiguration Sunday March 3, 2019
Scripture: Exodus 34: 29-35; Luke 9: 28-36
This morning we have read about Moses having an encounter with the Lord God Almighty, receiving important messages from God – the ten commandments – laws meant to guide and direct the Israelite nation. And when Moses has this encounter with God, his physical being is changed. His humanness, his very being, is changed and his face looks radiant. So radiant that Aaron and the other Israelites can’t look at him. And when Jesus goes to the mountain top to speak with God his heavenly Father, he receives messages and instructions to guide and direct him. Jesus’ very being is transformed as well. His face is radiant as Jesus is bathed in bright light, as dazzling as lightning we’re told. Jesus is transfigured, transformed, and changed. Moses and Elijah are there with Jesus as well, and why is their presence significant? As the great prophets of old, they represent the Law and the prophets of Israel, the means through which God gave instruction and God’s messages. The prophets of old were guided to speak of God’s deliverance and salvation to God’s people; the laws gave God’s commandments.
When Jesus is on the mountain top in our scripture passage, he is there to receive special instruction. He is getting very important guidance and direction from God, along with Moses and Elijah who witness to God’s Law and God’s Word. Jesus is going to bring about their fulfilment – the fulfilment of God’s lawful commandments and God’s messages spoken by the prophets since the formation of the Israelite nation. Through Jesus, the law and the prophets’ messages are going to be fulfilled through him, God’s Son. And Jesus is instructed about his mission, his journey, his departure to Jerusalem. Where is Jesus going? To the cross. To die. God’s fulfilment and plan to redeem the world. Jesus came to save the world, to sacrifice his life to bring us into an eternal, loving fellowship with God and with himself. A new beginning for the world and its peoples.
Peter, James and John are present at this heavenly encounter. They see the transfiguration, the transformation of Jesus. And their reaction is interesting. Peter wants to build a shelter, or a structure for Jesus, Moses and Elijah, but although Peter thinks he is offering a gracious, hospitable gesture, the intention of the heavenly visit isn’t to prolong their visit – the intention is to put God’s plan of salvation into action. Now is the time when the evilness of the world will confront Jesus on the cross. Jesus’ death and resurrection will be the victor as Jesus brings about the fulfilment of a new reign of God’s forgiveness, God’s mercy, God’s love and God’s redemption for the world.
Peter, James and John are there for a reason. The disciples are to bring the message, the good news of Jesus, the love of God, to the world. They will be called into action! And as modern-day disciples for Jesus, we are called into action, too.
When asked what is the greatest commandment of all, Jesus says in Matthew 22: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. And love your neighbour as yourself.” In Matthew 28, Jesus says: “Go and make disciples of all nations…teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” And in Matthew 25, Jesus says to us: “Come, you who are blessed by my Father…For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” When we obey Jesus’ commandments, we are serving Jesus and spreading God’s love in our world. We are transformed and the world is transformed. Here are some examples:
Please click on the following link to an excellent video: Father Gregory Boyle’s work as the founder of Homeboy Industries. Father Gregory works with gang members whose lives are transformed.
Lives are transformed in kindness, love, and compassion. On this Transfiguration Sunday when we see Jesus transfigured, we are meant to be transformed as well. Transformed into the likeness of Jesus. And if we are, what are you doing? What am I doing? Let’s shine for Jesus! Let’s have our faces light up and live in the radiant light of Christ. May it be so. Amen.