On Transfiguration Sunday, we remember a very special miracle. Jesus is transfigured – his appearance changes to clearly reflect his divine persona. With him stands Elijah, the greatest of all prophets, and Moses, who was given the law. As Jesus came to fulfill the law and the prophets, the importance of their presence should not be overlooked. Through this miracle, we and the apostles catch a glimpse of heaven breaking into the real world with all its promises. This foreshadows the new heaven and new earth which will surely come through Christ.
Recalling Jesus’ baptism as the season after Epiphany began, we heard God’s voice affirm Jesus as his Son. This last Sunday of the season after Epiphany, God’s voice is again heard proclaiming, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him (Matthew 17:5)!” Throughout the weeks ahead, we will hear how the apostles failed to do just that. Over and over again, they will fail to listen. They will fail Jesus; the one they claim to love.
We all fail Jesus at times. Thus as we leave that mountain behind after our services for the Transfiguration, we are asked to descend toward Lent, a time designated for repentance and renewal. Lent helps lead us toward a day of resurrection, Easter, and the promises of a new beginning available now. As we strive to worship Jesus this Lent – no matter what we have done or failed to do, even as we might struggle with significant shortcomings and sin – Jesus will say to us just as he does to the prostrate Apostles (in the Greek), “Be raised. Do not be afraid. (Matthew 17:7)” Let nothing stop you. Repent, rejoice and be glad, for all of us who trust in Christ will be made new through faith alone – never by our obtaining perfection. Basking in his light, we can go forward with trust that forgiveness and new life is ours to receive. “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him (John 3:17).”
Bloch, C. (u.d.) Transfiguration of Jesus. As downloaded from Wikimediacommons (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Transfiguration_bloch.jpg) on March 4, 2011.
Keck, L.E. (Ed.). The New Interpreter’s Bible: Matthew – Mark (Vol. 8). (1995). Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press.
Mays, J.L. (Ed.). (2000). The HarperCollins Bible Commentary. New York: HarperCollins Publishers.
Meeks, W.A. (Ed.). (1993). The HarperCollins Bible: New Revised Standard Version. New York: HarperCollins Publishers.
Tunseth, S. (Project Dir.). (2009). Lutheran Study Bible: NRSV Translation. Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Fortress.
Lose, D. (2011) Commentary on Matthew 17:1-9. As downloaded from workingpreacher.org on February 28, 2011.
Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) translation.
This piece is adapted from an item created for the Sunday bulletin at Messiah Lutheran Church, Mechanicsville, VA.
© 2011 The Rev. Louis Florio. All contents not held under another’s copyright may not be used without permission of the author.
 Lose, D. (2011). Commentary on Matthew 17:1-9. As downloaded from workingpreacher.org on February 28, 2011.