“After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. 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.” 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!” When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Do not be afraid.” When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.” Matthew 17:1-8
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Transfiguration. This is an important event in Christianity which extends into most of the major branches; Catholicism, Anglicanism, Orthodoxy and even some Protestant churches (Episcopal, Lutheran and Presbyterian). It is an event of which Saint Thomas Aquinas considered “the greatest miracle”, in that with His Transfiguration; Jesus demonstrated His true divinity. In fact, by His Transfiguration the Holy Trinity is revealed. God the Father is present in the voice of God, Jesus the Son of God is present in His being transformed and God the Holy Spirit is thought to be present in the enveloping cloud which enables the disciples to witness the miracle. This event is one of only a handful of documented personal occurrences to Jesus himself. (The others being His Baptism, Crucifixion, Resurrection and Ascension.) Appearing together with Moses, the great law giver; and Elijah, the great prophet; serves to provide testimony as to the validity of Christ. (Listen to him!) This is important, for it is in the previous chapter of Matthew (Matthew 16: 13 et.seq.) that Jesus asks his disciples who he is thought to be and who they believe him to be.
There is no doubt that the Transfiguration of Jesus finally provides a solid foundation from which to build, as to Christ’s true nature and divinity. (Except maybe for Thomas.) We who were not present, or even alive at this time, can take from Scripture this account that Jesus truly was the Christ. But what more subtle and realistic lesson can we take from the account of the Transfiguration, and use today?
We must use our faith in Christ, our personal declaration that we are Christians- to make a personal transformation of our own! As Jesus himself was transfigured, so too must we be in the attributes of Christ. To assume His compassion and charity. Not to judge people based upon our own opinions and beliefs. To extend to others; family, friends and strangers alike, a kind word and comforting hand. To attempt to live fully “Christ-like”. This is after all, why we are here and why we live as Christians. Not just to enjoy the love of our Lord and His promise of eternal life, but to give the love He gives to us and give it away to others. In doing so, Christ lives among us here and now!
So, be transformed! Free yourself from prejudice and preconceptions. Embrace Christ fully and His message of love and forgiveness, and pass it forward onto others. Let your own personal transformation be reason enough for someone to ask: What is up with you? Why are you so happy? So helpful? And then share with them, The Good news!
Almighty God. Create within me a new heart- a new spirit. Help me to see Your potential within me and within others. As Jesus was transfigured before the disciples for Your glory, so too grace upon us the resolve to transform ourselves- to proclaim Your glory! Be Transformed! Amen.