Words of Faith 7-13-18
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2018
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray.  As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning.  Two men, Moses and Elijah,  appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem.  Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him.  As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, "Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters--one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah." (He did not know what he was saying.)
 While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud.  A voice came from the cloud, saying, "This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him."  When the voice had spoken, they found that Jesus was alone. The disciples kept this to themselves, and told no one at that time what they had seen.
So what is transfiguration really all about? Often we just breeze past this passage and say, “Wow that must have been neat.” So what is this thing called transfiguration?
First, it is about prayer that changes us. We often miss the fact that Jesus brought the Peter, James and John to this place for the purpose of prayer. This was a prayer meeting they would never ever forget! It was in this time of prayer, communing with the Father, that all the questions were answered. The revelation came. The answers were apparent. Suddenly what they had suspected was clear. Prayer does this. What was right before us is suddenly apparent and confirmed. We are changed and how we view things is suddenly different.
Second, transfiguration is about discovering who Jesus is. It is one thing to have the right answers but another to experience who Jesus is personally. For Peter, James, and John it was very important to know that Jesus was not Moses. Jesus was not Elijah. These were the two pillar figures of Judaism. But Jesus does stand in a relationship with both. Jesus is in conversation with the past, Moses the giver of the LAW. Jesus is in conversation with His future, Elijah the herald of the Messiah. Together they discussed the fulfillment of it all at the cross.
At the transfiguration Jesus was revealed to be more than a carpenter from Nazareth. He was revealed to be light and power. He was not changed on the mountain, only His appearance is changed. Luke chose words guided by the Holy Spirit that say literally that the perception and perspective on Jesus was changed. That is important. Jesus was the same as before but Peter, James and John suddenly saw His true nature and essence. Transfiguration is something that changes us. We find eyes to see and ears to hear what has always been there.
This encounter with God was something so wonderful that they did not want to leave. They wanted to build a place to preserve the experience. They wanted to stay in the experience. But that is not the way that it works. The disciples came out of their sleepiness and were enveloped in something of what the Old Testament called the Shekinah of God, His Glory. They heard the voice of God give a simple instruction: "This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him." What had been evident was now clear. What had changed? Not Jesus. Peter, James, and John had changed.
Third, transfiguration is about seeing things clearly. We need to see Jesus, ourselves, others and life situations as God would have us see them. Transfiguration needs to be a part of our life and experience even if it is not as flashy as the mountain top experience. In reality, we begin our journey of faith much as the disciples did. We are invited to follow someone named Jesus but we don't really know who Jesus is. There is a good bit of talk in the crowd. We hear about miracles. We see and hear the teaching. We begin to suspect. But thus far the evidence would lead us to think that Jesus was a healer, perhaps a prophet or maybe a good moral teacher. How can we know the truth?
Even if we are asked: Who do YOU say that I am? We are limited to the observations of the Scripture and the thoughts of the theologians. So who is Jesus? When we go to God in prayer the Jesus of History and the Christ of Faith is transfigured such that we discover who He really is. That is life changing. Until we personally know this Jesus-- the Christ of God, the King of Kings, the Light of the World-- we do not really have a stake and a passion for Him and His call.
Transfiguration is about seeing Jesus clearly, people clearly, ourselves clearly, and situations clearly. Transfiguration does not change any of those things. We are changed as we are given eyes to see and ears to hear.
One of our biggest problems is that often we don't really want transfiguration. We don't really want the truth. We don't really want to know. We love our prejudgments about people and situations. We become stubbornly stuck in our views. We have an idea of who Jesus is and we don't want anyone to mess that up with the truth, not even Jesus! We get set in our mind what we think about a person and we don't want to be confused with the facts.
Often we have in mind that we are pretty good people and we don't want Jesus to mess that up. But we all need transfiguration. This is not something only for a few disciples. We all need it. We are going to see as the story progresses that Peter, James and John needed it more than anyone else.
So where are you today? Is there something in your life that you need transfigured. Or perhaps you need to be transfigured regarding something or someone in your life. It may be your understanding of Jesus has been intellectual and you need to draw near to Him and experience Him as truth and light. Perhaps you need to see a truth about someone else in your life, even yourself. Perhaps there is a situation that you need transfigured. We cannot transfigure anything but we can go to God in prayer.
Father, change me. Open my eyes so that I may see You as You really are. Give me eyes to see myself as I really am and to see the things I need to surrender to You. Give me eyes to see the people and situations around me through Your eyes. In Jesus' name.