Sunday is Feast of the Transfiguration, or Transfiguration of the Lord Sunday. The Christian year reserves this Sunday for the observance of the transfiguration of Jesus before Peter, James, and John. The full account of the transfiguration can be found here.
The disciples of Jesus witnessed the transfiguration of Jesus: the face of Jesus shone like the sun; the clothes of Jesus became as white as light; Moses and Elijah appeared and spoke with Jesus; and, a great cloud overwhelmed them all and a voice declared, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am pleased. Listen to him!” (Matthew 17:1-5)
On the day of the Lord’s transfiguration, Christians give praise to God’s revelation of the identity of Jesus as the Christ. Jesus is the Messiah, the anointed one of God. Yet, the disciples do not understand the necessity of the Messiah to suffer so that he might be raised. (17:9-12)
Transfiguration of the Lord Sunday, therefore, presents all of us with the opportunity to consider the true identity of Jesus as the Messiah in anticipation of the Lenten Season. I encourage us all to pause and reflect upon Jesus as we approach the coming Season of Lent.
Matthew’s account begins with an interesting detail: Jesus led the disciples to the top of a mountain. (v. 1) The transfiguration of the Lord would occur from atop this mountain. I have spoken about the transfiguration in the past. I have also written about the overwhelming presence of God atop the mountain. The mountain is a place of revelation: God is revealed; the identity of Jesus is revealed; and, interestingly, God reveals the identity of the disciples.
The disciples discover their identity, because God reveals who they are in the light of Christ. God instructs the disciples to “Listen to [Jesus].” (v. 6) The disciples are hearers and responders to the words of Jesus.
Of interest is the first instruction Jesus offers after the declaration of God. After hearing the voice of God, the disciples fell to the ground. They were terrified. Jesus tells his disciples to “get up” and “don’t be afraid.” (vv. 6-7)
Jesus issues a demand, but his directive is also a word of comfort. Jesus calls for his disciples to stand up and look him in the face. Jesus calls for his disciples to fully see the revealed identity of Jesus. Jesus calls for his disciples to realize their real identity in the light of Christ.
Know yourself in the light of Christ shining on you. Know yourself in the light of God’s love being cast upon you. Know yourself, by being known by God!
Where have you buried your face?
What is the cause of your trembling?
The time has come for you to get up off the ground and to stop living in fear. You are called to look upon Jesus; to know the light of Christ shining upon you; to know the love of God cast upon you; and, to listen to the words of the one who calls you unto God.
Let this Lenten Season be an opportunity for you to hear the words of Christ and may you be given the strength to follow the imprints of his feet.
Comments are welcome and sharing is encouraged!