We are Those who can tell, Now is the time to proclaim

Matthew 17:1-9
1 Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. 2 And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. 3 Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. 4 Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 5 While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” 6 When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. 7 But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Get up and do not be afraid.” 8 And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone. 9 As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, “Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.” [NRSA]

A Time for Telling and a Time for Soaking in the Experience

The point of the transfiguration is Jesus being revealed disciples.

We each have different experiences of coming to recognize Jesus.

  1. Recognizing Jesus in the context of the law and prophets, through scripture

One clear message of this passage is that Jesus appears with Moses and Elijah as key figures of the law and prophets.

Our primary means of experiencing the living Christ and the purposes of God and the Power of the Holy Spirit is through scripture.

Jesus takes three key leaders and says to them, you need remedial class. You need some extra studies.

  • Recognizing Jesus over time

We have this account where Peter, James, and John are given the benefit of seeing Jesus over time in the daily travels, AND in an all at once occasion on the mountain top experience.

All the disciples share a day by day relationship of Jesus revealing himself through teachings, parables, miracles, conversations, and actions of compassion and instruction of what is right and true.

  • Recognizing Jesus all at once

While we cannot place ourselves on that mountain and expect to have the same exact spiritual experience. It’s purpose is to help us see that seeing and experiencing Christ in our lives requires study, practice, and sometime traveling to a different place.

One of the great criticisms of foreign mission trips is that summed up in the question/statement, “we have so much ministry that could be done in our own backyard, why do we need to travel somewhere else and spend travel funds, lodging, and other transportation costs to do the very things we could do at home?!”

There are multiple answers: 1) Many times those who respond to a foreign mission become an example to those who remain at home. 2) The communities we travel to serve do not have neighbors with the financial resources we have to do both ministry at home and ministry abroad, and 3) Jesus instructs us to witness to those at home, in our own nations, and to the nations of the world.

  • 4. Finally, Recognizing Jesus through us

My call to local church ministry began in a Christian home, with many years of many worship services, Sunday school, VBS, and Christian summer camps. It was fortified with family members who desires for me to be surrounded by the faith. We are living in a time where fewer and fewer people raised with these foundational morals and teaching.

More people are raised by television, Google, movies, and social media than by Worship, Sunday school and traditional bible studies.

Does that mean that we stay away from these other mediums of communication, or do we implant ourselves where people are?  It’s a wonderful thing to ride a horse, but if someone wants to go shopping at the mall, we will not have many people calling for our horse to get them to the city. There is a need to communicate with people where they are, EVEN if that means we must go to the mountain they are currently residing.

Why are we shown this very personal experience Peter, James, and John if traveling to that mountain top will not be the same experience for us. Why is this in the scriptures? What benefit is it for us to overhear?

We are reminded that we need to be out of our comfort zone of what is familiar and regular to see what God has for us to experience. It would be nice of Jesus showed up in our worship service, but it just might be down by the river, and if we wait for him to come inside, we will miss him being outside.

We also witness this experience to know that God is to be found in conversation with the scriptures. Not only in brief lessons and devotion, but in great study and familiarity with God alive and God at work in the scripture.

Every time I spend studying the bible for any bible study I found new insights, new twists, and facets that I had not seen the other twenty times of reading or discussing. God continues to have life, purpose, and power to give us when we study the laws and prophets, the gospels and the letters, the poetry, and the apocalyptic material.

The curious part of the story is Jesus’s instruction for them to tell no one about what they had seen, heard, and experienced.

There are times that we tell as witnesses, messengers, and evangelists, but there are times that we need to be prepared ahead of time for what is yet to be revealed.

The Transfiguration is about seeing and knowing Jesus fully and clearly.

Our hearing and retelling of this event, is to remind one another that we

  1. Need to study the Old and New Testaments
  2. We need to look for Jesus in day-to-day life
  3. We need to be open to invitation to go the extra mile to see what others are not willing or ready to experience
  4. We are to allow Christ to reflect, shine and be seen through us.

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