This coming Sunday, February 7, is Transfiguration Sunday. It marks the end of Epiphany and prepares us for the Lenten Season. I have preached on the Transfiguration many times. I never tire of this story. Yet this year, we will be looking at it from a slightly different angle. I have been reading from Kent Hughes’ Commentary on Luke this season. Many of the lectionary passages are from Luke this year. Hughes has a wonderful chapter on the Transfiguration. He takes us back to the glory of God revealed in the Old Testament and helps us to see the Transfiguration through this lens. This is what we are going to be doing on Sunday in worship.
I will not recount the entire story in this blog entry as we will detail it on Sunday. However, I will highlight the significance of this event. At this point in Jesus’ ministry, he has predicted his death a number of times. The disciples have to know that something momentous is about to take place. Jesus selects only his most intimate friends and journeys to a mountain. During this encounter, Peter, James and John are able to get a glimpse of God’s glory (revealed in Jesus) like they had never seen before. In the weeks and years ahead, it would serve as an important reminder of Jesus’ mission. Without this experience, we have to wonder how their leadership in the early church might have been different. John later recalls,
(John 1:14 NIV) The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Peter puts it this way,
(2 Peter 1:16-18 NIV) For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.
They saw the glory of God like no other in their generation. It gave them the necessary vision of Jesus’ mission they needed on the other side of the Cross. Join us on Sunday as we explore this story again from Luke 9:28-36.