Sunday, February 13, 2011

Feast of the Transfiguration: A Devotional Commentary

Exodus 34:29-35 It happened, when Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the testimony in Moses’ hand, when he came down from the mountain, that Moses didn’t know that the skin of his face shone by reason of his speaking with him. When Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come near him. Moses called to them, and Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation returned to him; and Moses spoke to them. Afterward all the children of Israel came near, and he gave them all of the commandments that Yahweh had spoken with him on Mount Sinai. When Moses was done speaking with them, he put a veil on his face. But when Moses went in before Yahweh to speak with him, he took the veil off, until he came out; and he came out, and spoke to the children of Israel that which he was commanded. The children of Israel saw Moses’ face, that the skin of Moses’ face shone: and Moses put the veil on his face again, until he went in to speak with him.

2 Peter 1:16-21 For we did not follow cunningly devised fables, when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honor and glory, when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” We heard this voice come out of heaven when we were with him on the holy mountain. We have the more sure word of prophecy; and you do well that you heed it, as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns, and the morning star arises in your hearts: knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of private interpretation. For no prophecy ever came by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke, being moved by the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 17:1-9 After six days, Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John his brother, and brought them up into a high mountain by themselves. He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his garments became as white as the light. Behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them talking with him. Peter answered, and said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you want, let’s make three tents here: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them. Behold, a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Listen to him.” When the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces, and were very afraid. Jesus came and touched them and said, “Get up, and don’t be afraid.” Lifting up their eyes, they saw no one, except Jesus alone. As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, “Don’t tell anyone what you saw, until the Son of Man has risen from the dead.”

In the Nativity we are shown without a doubt that Jesus is truly a human being. During the time of Epiphany we are shown that Jesus truly is God. Just before His crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus gave His disciples a glimpse of His glorious divinity. Jesus' face shown and Moses and Elijah talked with Him. Peter wanted to make three tents--one for Jesus, one for Moses, and one for Elijah. Peter could see from the transfiguration that Jesus was a great prophet who was just as important as Moses or Elijah. But Jesus is much more than that. Moses and Elijah cannot save you. Moses can bring you the Law and show you your utter sinfulness but he cannot save you. Elijah can call fire down from heaven upon you but he cannot save you. Only Jesus can save you. Only Jesus fulfills what is written in the Law and the Prophets. Peter was ready to have a symposium with lectures given by Jesus, Moses, and Elijah. But the voice of God the Father said, "Listen to Jesus--He is my beloved Son." Then Jesus told them not to tell anyone what had happened until after He was resurrected. But the disciples did not understand. They thought that Jesus was speaking of some sort of spiritual experience or speaking in allegories. They would only understand after Jesus rose from the dead.

Although, we live in a time where the resurrection of Christ has already occurred we act the same way. We want to gloss over the death and resurrection of Christ and move on to bigger and better things. We want to return to Moses so that we can learn how to live more righteously than our neighbor or use Moses as a set of financial principles to increase our wealth. We want practical advice for our day to day life. We read the Scriptures as if only parts of them are about Jesus. But all the Scriptures are about Jesus. And the Bible is not a moral improvement program or a instruction manual for life. Our old man does not need to be improved. We must kill the old man who constantly distracts us from Christ.

Listen to Him. Jesus Christ says "I died for you." Jesus says, "I am risen for you." In the Holy Supper, Jesus says, "This is my body which is broken for you. This is my blood which is shed for you." In the preaching of the Gospel Jesus says, "Peace be with you." Listen to Jesus.

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