LET’S LISTEN TO JESUS AS WE OPEN OUR HEARTS TO EXPERIENCE HIS HEAVENLY GLORY
(A biblical refection on THE FEAST OF TRANSFIGURATION – Wednesday, 6 August 2015)
Gospel Reading: Mark 9:2-10
First Reading: Daniel 7:9-10,13-14 (or 2Peter 1:16-19; Psalms: Psalm 97:1-2,5-6,9
The Scripture Text
And after six days Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves; and He was transfigured before them, and His garments became glistening, intensely white, as no fuller on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses; and they were talking to Jesus. And Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is well that we are here; let us make three booths, one for You and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” For he did not know what to say, for theyu were exceedingly afraid. And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is My beloved Son; listen to Him.” And suddenly looking around they no longer saw any one with them but Jesus only.
And as they were coming down the mountain, He charged them to tell no one what they had seen, until the Son of man should have risen from the dead. So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what the rising from the dead meant. (Mark 9:2-10 RSV)
On a high mountain, Peter, James and John were given a glimpse of their Master’s glory and heard the Father proclaim: “This is My beloved Son; listen to Him” (Mark 9:7). Why would the Father tell them to “listen to” Jesus? Here, in the revelation of His majesty and power, wouldn’t it have been more appropriate to tell them to worship Jesus, or to proclaim to everyone the glory they had seen?
The disciples were to listen to Jesus because they had not yet understood His words. This is nowhere more evident than in the events recounted just before the transfiguration. Peter had just proclaimed Jesus to be the Messiah (Mark 8:29), yet immediately afterward, upon hearing Jesus speak of His impending death in Jerusalem, Peter sought do dissuade Him (Mark 8:30-33). After correcting Peter, Jesus went on to speak of the cost of following Him: “If any man would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me” (Mark 8:34).
These are the words that the disciples must listen to, for they are intimately connected with Jesus’ glory. To hear that they must lose their lives in order to save them without having seen Jesus’ splendor would have been too difficult. Conversely, to see the glory of the Lord without understanding the nature of the cross would lead to a spiritual pride similar to Peter’s desire to enshrine Jesus and set Him apart from the people He had come to save (Mark 9:5).
Between these two extremes stands Jesus, the Son of Man who humbled Himself to rescue us from sin and who is now risen in glory. The Holy Spirit wants to give us a glimpse of this glory and so compel us to “lose” our lives in Him, choosing to live for Him. The promise of the transfiguration is that we can all see Jesus’ glory. We can all hear the Father’s voice pointing to Him as His beloved Son. And this vision will move us to give Him our lives. Let us all listen to Jesus as we open our hearts to experience His heavenly glory.
Prayer: Holy Spirit, reveal Jesus’ glory to us today. Show us the irresistible splendor, beauty, purity, and goodness of our God! Stir our hearts, Lord, and we will gladly lose our lives to follow you. Amen.
Jakarta, 6 August 2015
A Christian Pilgrim