We step away from the Epistle text this week as we return to the gospel story of Jesus’ Transfiguration. Last week, we talked about our ongoing transformation. But here, it isn’t about us, but it is about Jesus. Some might ask what is our role on Transfiguration Sunday? Watch and praise. That’s it. We certainly shouldn’t be setting up tents and wanting to stay. Peter found that out rather quickly.
If your church is itching for a praise service, this is it. All the hymns and songs about the greatness of our Lord can be sung on this day. All the music that speaks of the awesomeness of God, of the wonder of Christ, of the mystery of the Spirit. This is a moment that defies explanation. And that’s a good thing. Spending too much time trying to explain it pulls the mystery out of it, reduces it to a special effects event, instead of the jaw-dropping, heart-pounding moment that it could be.
We pray to the glorified Christ. We bow before the transcendent God. We invite the elusive Spirit to fill us with power and with love, so that we can represent this glorious God in our living each day. Today is a day for creeds, especially if we aren’t used to using them. Bringing out one the many statements of faith is a way of worshiping and declaring faith in this amazing God who defines glory before our eyes. Whether it be an ancient creed or a newer affirmation, be sure and emphasize the descriptions of the Trinitarian God we worship on a regular basis.
But Transfiguration is not about our work, but the work that was done before us. Some ask who this event was for, this mountain-top experience. One view is that it was for Jesus, to get him ready for his departure, as Luke puts it in verse 31 of our text. At the same time, however, the voice that comes from the cloud is obviously for the disciples, who were trembling in fear on the ground. At Jesus’ baptism the voice said, “You are my beloved, with you I am well pleased.” Here the voice says, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him” (9:35). The voice was telling them, and us, to listen to Jesus. He will get you through the difficult days ahead. We are here on the brink of the season of Lent, a strenuous journey for any who take it seriously. In this mountain-top moment, the offer of the companion is being made, and then he is revealed as capable, as worthy, as glorified, and able. Let us sing a song of praise and of joy.
Rev. Dr. Derek Weber, Director of Preaching Ministries, served churches in Indiana and Arkansas and the British Methodist Church. His PhD is from University of Edinburgh in preaching and media. He has taught preaching in seminary and conference settings for more than 20 years.