The account of Jesus’ Transfiguration is part of a larger section of Luke’s Gospel that contains his teaching on the meaning of real discipleship; what it means to be students of Christ. By our exploring the Transfiguration from that perspective, we can understand that Jesus’ Transfiguration demonstrates three key elements of being disciples: Glory, Praise, and Action.
Before the Transfiguration, Peter had confessed that Jesus is the Messiah (Accepting J as God’s Son); Jesus had predicted his passion and death (culmination of J purpose);
Right after the Transfiguration, Jesus healed a boy who had an evil spirit – There was no basking in the glow of the spiritual high of this experience of God: there was work to be done.
Jesus brought Peter, James, John with him to pray; something he normally did alone. It seems likely that Jesus brought these close friends with him to witness this event. The three things they experienced were: Glory, Praise, and Action.
Glory: Peter, James and John were given a brief look at Jesus’ divine glory (Shekinah). God’s presence within Jesus burst through and became visible; it changed his physical appearance.
In our Exodus reading, Moses had been on Mt Sinai talking with God. Just from being in the presence of God, his face shone so brightly and unnaturally that the people who saw him were afraid to be near him. Moses had to cover his face so he wouldn’t scare them away. Moses only talked to God, he only reflected God’s glory, and his face shone. But Jesus was revealing his own glory to Peter, James and John.
Peter wrote about this near the end of his life; how life-changing it had been for him to have proof of Jesus’ divinity. You and I need to be looking too, not falling asleep in our faith, but looking for the signs of Jesus’ divinity in our life. We need to live our life based on the promise that God is active in it, or else we will miss it. We need to be aware of Jesus’ Glory.
Praise: Peter wanted to build three booths, to memorialize Jesus’ Transformation and the visitation from Moses and Elijah. Peter was responding with his own awkward form of praise.
You and I offer our praise to our Lord Jesus Christ through our prayers and songs and sacraments (Holy Eucharist) AND by the way we choose to live our lives. Remember that worship is ANYTHING we do that is meant to bring glory to God. So our work can be praise, our time with family can be praise, our whole day can be filled with praise. As disciples of Christ: we are called to praise him.
Action: The voice that came from the cloud said, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!” Jesus’ Great Commission (at his ascension) wasn’t to only read back over what he did while he was on this earth. Jesus’ Great Commission charges us to go out and share, teach, and bring other people into this relationship with God: a relationship based on self-giving love.
Peter wanted to build 3 booths; to stay on that mountain top, and to bask in the memory of the Transformation. I think that’s where most of us who experience spiritual highs in our life want to stay. But Jesus called these friends back down the mountain to heal, to teach, and to fulfill God’s purpose for them.
Glory, Praise, Action. Jesus’ Transformation showed these elements of discipleship to his closest friends, and to you and me.
Jesus’ glory – and our praise of him – empower us to take action; action that in turn brings change, transformation, to us and to the world. Amen.