This coming Sunday is the last Sunday of Epiphany and is the Sunday we celebrate the Transfiguration of Jesus. Lent begins on the following Wednesday when we have our Ash Wednesday Services.
Our lessons focus our attention on the Transfiguration.
Exodus 24:12-18 – When the Israelites leave Egypt they head to Mt. Sinai (Chapter 19) and Moses goes up the mountain to receive the Law of the Lord beginning with the 10 Commandments (chapters 20-23). At the beginning of Chapter 24 Moses comes down the mountain to tell the people all that God had told him (there are no tablets yet). In our passage this week, God tells Moses to come back up and he will be given the tablets with all the commandments and Law. When Moses got there the “Glory of the Lord” descended on the mountain in the form of a fog but to the people below it appeared like a “devouring fire.” Moses enters the cloud and is there for 40 days while God gives him more instructions (chapters 25-31). Moses’ long delay on the mountain is what prompts the Israelites to worship the golden calf (chapter 32).
Psalm 99 – The Psalmist extols the might and holiness of God who is just, equitable, and forgives. This is the God who spoke to Moses, Aaron, and Samuel in the pillars of clouds.
2 Peter 1:16-21 – Peter states in this passage that the message he brought to his churches was not one of myths or fiction, but a message of the glory of Christ that he and others personally witnessed while they were on the mountain with Jesus. Therefore, their witness (prophetic message) is confirmed by God. He calls his churches to pay attention to this light shining in the darkness.
Matthew 17:1-9 – Six days after Peter declares Jesus to be the Messiah, the Son of the Living God, Jesus takes Peter, James, and John up a mountain. Matthew flatly says the Jesus changed (was transfigured) before them. Moses and Elijah appear with Jesus prompting Peter, always brash, to declare that they would build three booths or tents for them. Suddenly they are enveloped by a cloud and the voice of God declares Jesus to be his Son, his beloved. The last three words of God comprise what I call the 11th Commandment of God and the only commandment of God given in the New Testament: “Listen to him”. With that, the disciples literally fall to the ground where they are roused by Jesus who is alone. As they descend the mountain Jesus tells the three disciples to tell no one.
May the written word of the Lord change your life to serve him.