The True Glory of Jesus
(Matthew 17.1-13; Luke 9.28-36)
2 Six days later Jesus took Peter, James, and John with him. They went up on a high mountain, where they could be alone. There in front of the disciples, Jesus was completely changed. 3And his clothes became much whiter than any bleach on earth could make them. 4Then Elijah and Moses appeared and were talking with Jesus.
5Peter said to Jesus, “Teacher, it is good for us to be here! Let us make three shelters, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 6But Peter and the others were terribly frightened, and he did not know what he was talking about.
7 The shadow of a cloud passed over and covered them. From the cloud a voice said, “This is my Son, and I love him. Listen to what he says!” 8At once the disciples looked around, but they saw only Jesus.
9As Jesus and his disciples were coming down the mountain, he told them not to say a word about what they had seen, until the Son of Man had been raised from death. 10So they kept it to themselves. But they wondered what he meant by the words “raised from death.”
11 The disciples asked Jesus, “Don't the teachers of the Law of Moses say that Elijah must come before the Messiah does?”
12 Jesus answered:
Elijah certainly will come to get everything ready. But don't the Scriptures also say that the Son of Man must suffer terribly and be rejected? 13I can assure you that Elijah has already come. And people treated him just as they wanted to, as the Scriptures say they would.
A trash city was the last place I expected to see God’s glory. Our missions team had just shown the Jesus Film to 250 people who live in a garbage dump in Mexico. After the movie, my wife and daughter and I shared our testimonies and invited these people to receive Christ. Hundreds came forward to pray with us! A local pastor prayed for many of them to be healed, and we saw people jumping up and walking after years of illness. It was truly amazing.
When we arrived home, our Canadian friends didn’t know what to make of our story. They couldn’t quite bring themselves to believe it. Maybe, we thought, this was meant just for the Mexicans and for us – a special glimpse of glory to grow our faith.
Peter, James and John had a similar experience in Mark 9. It was just the three of them with Jesus. Suddenly, he was transformed! No longer a humble carpenter, but a dazzling King, speaking with the long-dead Moses and Elijah. “This is my Son, whom I love,” came God’s voice from the clouds. “Listen to him!”
Here was a special gift for Jesus’ close friends: an amazing reminder of the power and glory of Jesus and His Father. It was something that would keep them going in the days ahead, which would be full of confusion and doubt. Those of us who are Jesus’ friends will sometimes have these special moments with God. We can’t engineer them or expect them. When they come, we should rejoice and let them strengthen our faith for weeks, months, and even years.
Your glory and your power are too much for me to grasp. Help me to be open to all the ways you reveal yourself – in the mundane and the miraculous – so that my faith will grow and I can honour you. In the name of your beloved son, Amen.