August 22, 2016
After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. 3 Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.
4 Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”
5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”
6 When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. 7 But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” 8 When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.
What on earth is the meaning of this? Just a few days before, his enemies were demanding from him a sign. Today, he grants a sign of cosmic proportions to his closest friends.
But Jesus did not become something new atop this mountain. He revealed to them who he most truly was all along. This thin veil between “as it is in Heaven” and “on Earth” lifted momentarily giving his disciples (them and us) a glimpse into ultimate reality. They saw Jesus as he most truly is and was and ever shall be, the God-Man, a human person on fire, resplendent with unapproachable light—and yet right in front of them.
Then there were Moses and Elijah, two people who stood in the presence and power of God on top of mountains before; two who departed the Earth at the end of their lives in a mysterious fashion. There’s more to unpack here than any of us can possibly comprehend. It’s why we must keep coming back to this place. I suspect that as our humility deepens so will the depth of our understanding.
There’s looking at a scene like this, and then there’s being inside of it. In looking at it from the outside we can make all sorts of interesting and even helpful observations. When we are graced to see from inside of the scene—that’s where the epiphanies abound; not a specialized esoteric revelation reserved for the mystics but a type of objective seeing that transcends objectivity as we know it. Far from a subjective vision, epiphanies gift us with a seeing into the nature of reality as it most truly is. It’s on these occasions where we cease looking at Jesus and we begin to behold him. I’m convinced more every day that this is how we must learn to read Scripture—from the inside.
So what does this mean for us? What are we to make of it? Try this. Jesus is pure, unadulterated, immaculate Light—all the time. We all know the “Golden Rule.” There’s another rule. I call it the “Platinum Rule.” It’s very simply stated yet unfathomably deep. Wait for it. . . . “As Jesus is, so are we becoming.” Where do I get this? How about Two Corinthians 3:16-18. ;0)
But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
Jesus, as the great Nicene Creed puts it, is “God from God. Light from Light.” (see also John 1) He is Light. We, on the other hand, are illumined with light. We are incandescent. Our light does not come from ourselves but from Jesus by the loving power and illuminating presence of the Holy Spirit. Take a close look at this from 2 Corinthians 4:6-7.
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
It has me thinking, “What if the veil was pulled back on my life? How much light would be there? It gives a whole new meaning to, “This little light of mine. I’m gonna let it shine,” doesn’t it? It’s more like “This little ninety-seven billion candle power light of mine!”
Lord Jesus, to behold you is to love you, yet I fear I look at you more than I actually behold you. Open the eyes of my heart, Lord, I want to see you. I want to be the kind of person who bears your Light beautifully. I want to be the kind of person who inspires and calls forth your Light in others. Yes, Lord, I want to walk in the Light as you are in the Light. Thank you for that moment on the mountain that never stops shining. Come Holy Spirit and fill me with the Light of God who is the Love of Jesus so that as you are, I might become. For the glory of your name, Amen.
1. If sin is anything that dims or obscures the Light of God in our lives, how does that raise the stakes for you as it relates to becoming filled with Light?
2. How do you receive and relate to this “Platinum Rule,” as Jesus is, so are we becoming? How does that work?
3. How are you stretching to grasp the meaning of this scene of the Transfiguration of Jesus? What do you make of my reflections on it?
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J.D. Walt, is a Bond Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. firstname.lastname@example.org.