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Communion Meditations (2021)

 

Transfiguration

Originally scheduled for January 24

We would do well to begin by reading the Scripture concerning this unusual event.

Some eight days after these sayings, He took along Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And while He was praying, the appearance of His face became different, and His clothing became white and gleaming. And behold, two men were talking with Him; and they were Moses and Elijah, who, appearing in glory, were speaking of His departure which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and his companions had been overcome with sleep; but when they were fully awake, they saw His glory and the two men standing with Him. And as these were leaving Him, Peter said to Jesus, "Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three tabernacles: one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah"--not realizing what he was saying. While he was saying this, a cloud formed and began to overshadow them; and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. Then 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 reported to no one in those days any of the things which they had seen.

(Luke 9:28-36 NASB)

 

The first thing to strike the eye of the reader is that Jesus did not bring along all twelve apostles. He brought the three that were closest to him. Such a powerful and unusual event we might begin by asking why. The strongest answer I can find is that God reveals himself to the faithful. He does not reveal himself so that you can prove God exists. If you could conjure up God and tell him to heal someone, you would not be dealing with God. The omnipotent one doesn’t need direction from you. God deals with those who already believe.

There are some other points we might note here.

·         Moses and Elijah appear. The Jews of this time would equate that phrase with “the Law and the Prophets.” In other words, they would see these two representing everything the Old Testament teaches.

·         Peter’s reaction is typical of most human beings. We are having a wonderful time; let’s hang onto it as long as we can. Let’s camp out here; I’ll get the marshmallows.

·         God, as usual, has the last word. He tells them to listen to Christ, his Son, the Chosen One. If you will, he puts Moses and Elijah in their proper place.

Taken together, I suggest to you that the Transfiguration is the completion of the Old Testament. God does not replace his law or his prophets; he completes their work. The end of Christ’s ministry is near; it will complete all the law and all the prophets.

Communion, in the same way, completes the Passover of the Old Testament. The unblemished lamb is transfigured into the sinless Christ, sacrificed on our behalf for the forgiveness of our sins. Just as Passover was timed precisely, to be eaten in haste, so communion represents God’s timing for the entrance of the Christ sacrifice. It is no accident that he came during the Roman empire, in a time of peace. This enabled the spread of the gospel to be very rapid. Passover represented the demarcation between the land of sin (Egypt) and the promised land. So too, communion represents the demarcation between our lives of sin and salvation.

As you partake this morning, look carefully. Your Lord tells you that you are handling his body and his blood. We take this symbolically, of course — but seriously. Treat these elements with the proper respect. As you partake, meditate on what they mean: your Lord sacrificed himself so that you might have eternal life. This is our way of remembering Him.

We will not always have this memorial; the day is coming when Christ shall return to judge the living and the dead. Until then, we have this reminder.

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