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
(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
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
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.