You want a sign? You need proof? All right, I’ll give you a sign.
I can imagine Jesus at least thinking these words, since what he was teaching was so hard for his followers and the rest of the population to understand. In fact, in the previous chapter of Mark (today’s Gospel comes from Mark Chapter 9) we read:
11 The Pharisees came forward and began to argue with him, seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him.
12 He sighed from the depth of his spirit and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Amen, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.”
But how natural for us to want a sign! We who sometimes don’t even believe the truth when it stares us in the face! And we, who have so much scientific resources at our disposal to get proofs, evidence, facts, still wonder at the most basic phenomena of our world.
So it is no wonder then that Jesus’ followers, and especially those whom he threatened with his teachings, would feel at sea, far from the shore of certainty, surrounded by the waters of faith…and in a leaky boat as well.
So it seems to me that taking pity on Peter, James, and his brother John, Jesus decided to give these three a sign to ease their doubts…not erase them, but to ease them.
2 After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves.b And he was transfigured before them,
3 and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no fuller on earth could bleach them.
4 Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses, and they were conversing with Jesus.
Moses and Elijah. Even their recognition by the disciples is a wonder, since how would they know who these figures were? There were no pictures, nor did they have nametags. So here is a proof that is in itself hard to understand. But Moses represented the departure from the old way of life, and Elijah represented the ascent into heaven, ascending as he did in a flaming chariot.
“Don’t tell anybody about this.” And what was this “rising from the dead” Jesus spoke about.
I don’t know about you, but this event, the Transfiguration, still warms my heart. I’ve asked for proof, and here I read about a miraculous occurrence involving dazzling light, the voice of God, and two other witnesses from the past. It still gives me comfort.
Yes, I want proof. Yes we all want proof. But Peter tells us that it won’t come immediately. Here are his words for us:
Moreover, we possess the prophetic message that is altogether reliable.
You will do well to be attentive to it,
as to a lamp shining in a dark place,
until day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.
There is God again, telling me that day will dawn, and the morning star will rise in my heart. Just this image is enough proof for me. I can float in the sea of faith knowing that my boat is not leaking.
Lord, we who are doubters seek your loving consolation. Help us to continue to look for the morning star, and guide our hearts along the path of peace and love.