Hi. Welcome to Redeem the Commute. I’m Ryan, your host of the daily challenges. Today is Tuesday, the day we study the Bible together. This week, as part of our series on the identity of Jesus, we’re going to study a story called “The Transfiguration”. No idea what that means? That’s okay, we’ll explain.
When I was a university student, I was once asked, “Who is Jesus?” Well, I don’t know if you’ve ever been asked this, but it was a lot harder than it seemed it should be. I stuttered and stammered, sweat pouring out of my forehead.
Perhaps you’d find that question easy to answer…and in a minute or less you could say exactly who Jesus is. Or perhaps, like me, you’d agree with the last few lines in the gospel of John, that say if we wrote down everything that Jesus did, the world couldn’t hold all the books, so you’d go on and on!
Whether your answer is short or long, I can suppose that it probably says something about how wonderful, beautiful, powerful, or incredible Jesus is. Yet like describing the Sistine Chapel – it’s hardly a complete answer. It would be just a snapshot of the real thing.
We’re not the only ones to ask. Just a few verses before, in Luke 9:18, Jesus says “Who do the people say that I am?”
His disciples replied “John the Baptist, and others say Elijah, but others, that one of the prophets of old has risen again.” “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered “The Messiah of God”.
I can hardly imagine how Peter felt when Jesus pointed the finger at him and said, “I know what the world says about me…but you’re my closest friend. Who do you say that I am?”
I once interviewed a group of my friends about their perceptions of Christianity. They gave some of the answers you’d expect, and some new ones as well. About Jesus, some said he was a fictional character, others “the last prophet”. One said he was “a good orator, but I don’t buy the son of God thing”, or that Jesus represented God as someone on earth, or that he was a human creation of God, sent to us to show us God’s love. Even others will say he’s the Son of God, but that they don’t know how that really works.
Now to be perfectly honest, some of these definitions are just plain wrong…but a lot of them do have elements of truth in them. But none of them is complete…none of them gives the whole picture. Even those who’ve studied this for years, and read every theological text out there, have to admit there’s something about Jesus and his plans for the world (the kingdom of God) that are beyond our human comprehension.
That’s why today’s story happened. Jesus once said, “But I say to you truthfully, there are some of those standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.” And then he showed them the Kingdom of God, and himself the King, in a way they’d never forget.
Here’s the story:
Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray. And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white. And behold, two men were talking with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep, but when they became fully awake they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. And as the men were parting from him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah”—not knowing what he said. As he was saying these things, a cloud came and overshadowed them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!” And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and told no one in those days anything of what they had seen. (Luke 9:28-36 ESV)
Question: What do you think Jesus was showing them here? What was the message in his dazzling face and prophetic companions?