"The Transfiguration" by Giovanni Bellini, 1480.
“There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light” (Matthew 17:2).
Sometimes chapter divisions comes in bad places.
This is a good example of that.
At the end of Matthew 16, Jesus reveals to his disciples the truth about his coming crucifixion.
Peter flatly denied such a thing was possible.
But soon they would all know the truth.
We should read the account of the transfiguration in light of the shocking news about the coming crucifixion. Jesus is transfigured as a sign to his followers that there was more to the story than they had ever imagined.
When the early church fathers wrote about the transfiguration, they stressed that Jesus did not cease to be human when he was transfigured. The light shining was light from within, light that always been there, light that suffused his being from the moment of his earthly conception.
Jesus was always the light of the world.
During his days on earth, that light was largely hidden from men so that he seemed to be just a man and nothing more. The transfiguration reveals the essence of his divinity that was always there but mostly unseen.
There is always a danger that we will underestimate Jesus. On the mountain, just for a brief moment, the Father pulls back to the curtain and says, “This is my Son from heaven. Listen to him!”
We need to hear this word as we start a new week.
Most days are like today, a day of routine busyness. Off we go to do what we have to do, checking things off our list one by one by one. But there is coming a day when “business as usual” will be no more. In that great day Jesus will return in great glory, and the world will see him as he truly is.
The Lamb of God will be revealed as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah.
When authors write mystery stories, they end each chapter on a cliffhanger, as if to say, “More to come!”
On the mountain Jesus is transfigured, and God says, “This is my Son. Do not take him for granted. There is more to come!”
Lord Jesus, open our eyes so that we might see you as you are. Help us to live in great hope of your coming glory. Amen.