The Transfiguration

white cross under blue sky during daytime
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.” Matthew 17:1-2 

It is no accident that the account of the Transfiguration of Jesus is featured on the Sunday before the beginning of Lent.  In many churches, this account is the Gospel reading prior to Ash Wednesday because of the poignant reminder that it gives us as we enter the season where the focus is the cross of Christ.

It’s easy for people to get used to amazing things.  Couples who have been married for many years understandably get used to each other.  They’re not quite as enamored when the other walks in the room as they were, perhaps, when they first met or were first married.  Is that a reasonable turn of events?  I mean, the fact that there has been and remains an enduring love between two people is an incredible thing.  Yet, we just kind of get used to it all.  We get used to people, circumstances, all sorts of things that are worth noticing and reflecting upon.

Do you think it’s possible that the disciples, now two years into the ministry of Jesus, could have been getting used to Him?  They had by now seen some of the greatest of miracles.  Demons had been cast out, water had been walked upon, the blind could now see.  “What’s Jesus going to do today?”  “Oh, probably heal some more people and preach, like he usually does.”  We get used to Jesus don’t we?  He’s always there.  It’s not like we get up every morning and do cartwheels because Jesus is in our lives.  We read the Bible and see Him performing those miracles, saying wonderful things…and we get used to it.

Well, this Transfiguration ought to shake us out of any Jesus-doldrums, just as it most certainly must have for the disciples.  He becomes dazzlingly bright white! Elijah and Moses appear!  God the Father speaks from heaven!  If there was any complacency on the disciples’ part leading into that scene, how quickly it must have evaporated when seeing how Godlike Jesus was looking that day.

And this is one reason why it is so significant that the Transfiguration reading leads us into Lent.  As we walk with our Lord to His cross, let there be no mistaking just who this is that is laying down His life for us.  This is God of God, Light of Light, Very God of Very God who appeared that day with all the glory of God, soon to be bloodied and beaten and crucified to take our sins away.  As we experience Lent, we remember the Transfiguration and understand for the next six weeks just that this is God Himself, sacrificing Himself for us and for our salvation.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, forgive us for our complacency concerning you.  May we always recognize you as true God, especially as we consider your suffering and death for us all.  Amen.

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