41. The transfiguration
IT came to pass, about an eight days after these sayings, Jesus taketh Peter, John, and James his brother, and went up into a high mountain apart to pray: and Jesus was transfigured before them.
As he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered: his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light, and glistering, shining as snow, exceeding white, so as no fuller on earth can white them. And, behold, two men, Moses and Elias: who appeared in glory: talking with Jesus [they] spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem.
Peter and they that were with Jesus saw his glory, and the two men with Jesus.
There came a bright cloud, and overshadowed them: and a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.
The disciples fell on their face, and were sore afraid. Jesus came and touched them, and said,
Arise, and be not afraid.
Suddenly, when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man any more, save Jesus only. And he charged them,
Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.
¶Questioning with one another what the rising from the dead should mean, his disciples asked Jesus, Why say the scribes that Elias must first come? Jesus told them,
Elias verily cometh first, and restoreth all things; and how it is written of the Son of man, that he must suffer many things, and be set at nought.
But I say unto you, That Elias is indeed come already, and they knew him not; and they have done unto him whatsoever they listed, as it is written of him.
Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them.
The disciples understood that he spake of John the Baptist. They kept it close, and told no man in those days any of the things which they had seen.
¶When Jesus saw a multitude about his disciples, and the scribes questioning with them, he asked the scribes,
What question ye with them?
One of the multitude answered, Master, I have brought unto thee my son: Lord, have mercy; for he is lunatic, and sore vexed: ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water. A spirit teareth him that he foameth again, and gnasheth his teeth, and pineth away. I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him. He is mine only child.
Then Jesus said,
O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I suffer you?
Bring thy son hither to me.
They brought him: and as he was yet a coming, the spirit tare him; and he fell, and wallowed foaming. Jesus asked his father,
How long is it ago since this came unto him?
He said, Of a child. Have compassion on us. Jesus said,
If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
Straightway the father said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou my unbelief.
Jesus rebuked the foul spirit, saying,
Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him.
The child was cured from that very hour.
¶When Jesus was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out? Jesus answered,
Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out, can come forth, by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.
Scripture: Luke 9:28-36
Meditation 1 of 2:
God wants to share his glory with us! We get a glimpse of this when the disciples see Jesus transfigured in glory on the mountain. Luke’s account tells us that Jesus’ face changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white. When Moses met with God on Mount Sinai the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God (see Exodus 34:29). Paul says that the Israelites could not look at Moses’ face because of its brightness (2 Cor. 3:7). In this incident Jesus appeared in glory with Moses, the great lawgiver of Israel, and with Elijah, the greatest of the prophets, in the presence of three of his beloved apostles. What is the significance of this mysterious appearance? Jesus went to the mountain knowing full well what awaited him in Jerusalem — his betrayal, rejection and crucifixion. Jesus very likely discussed this momentous decision to go to the cross with Moses and Elijah. God the Father also spoke with Jesus and gave his approval: This is my beloved Son; listen to him. The cloud which overshadowed Jesus and his apostles fulfilled the dream of the Jews that when the Messiah came the cloud of God’s presence would fill the temple again (see Exodus 16:10, 19:9, 33:9; 1 Kings 8:10; 2 Maccabees 2:8).
While this transpired Peter, James, and John were asleep! Upon awakening they discovered the transfiguration of Jesus along with Moses and Elijah. How much do we miss of God’s glory and action because we are asleep spiritually? There are many things which can keep our minds asleep to the things of God: Mental lethargy and the “unexamined life” can keep us from thinking things through and facing our doubts and questions. The life of ease can also hinder us from considering the challenging or disturbing demands of Christ. Prejudice can make us blind to something new the Lord may have for us. Even sorrow can be a block until we can see past it to the glory of God. Are you spiritually awake? Peter, James, and John were privileged witnesses of the glory of Christ. We, too, as disciples of Christ are called to be witnesses of his glory. We all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit(2 Cor. 3:18). The Lord wants to reveal his glory to us, his beloved disciples. Do you seek his presence with faith and reverence?
“Lord, keep me always alert and awake to you, to your word, your action, and your daily presence in my life. Let me see your glory.”
Scripture: Luke 9:37-43
Meditation 2 of 2:
What kind of faith does the Lord expect of us, especially when we meet set-backs and trials? Inevitably there are times when each of us disappoint others or disappoint ourselves when we suffer some kind of set-back or failure. In this gospel incident the disciples of Jesus fail to heal an epileptic boy. Jesus’ response seems stern; but it is really tempered with love and compassion. We see at once Jesus’ dismay with the disciples’ lack of faith and his concern to meet the need of this troubled boy and his father. With one word of command Jesus rebukes the evil spirit that has caused this boy’s affliction and tells the spirit to “never enter him again”. God’s works reveal his majesty and power. When we ascribe majesty to someone, we acknowledge greatness in that person, and voice our respect for it. The miracles of Jesus revealed the majesty of God and displayed his grace and favor, especially towards the lowly. When you encounter trials and disappointments do you turn to the Lord with confidence and trust in his mercy?
“Lord Jesus, help my unbelief! Increase my faith and trust in your saving power. Give me confidence and perseverance, especially in prayer. And help me to bring your healing love and truth to those I meet”.