Seeing Jesus In A New Light Mark 9:2-9

Today is the Sunday of the Transfiguration. The season of Epiphany draws to an end. The beginning of Lent is about to start. The vision of Jesus transfigured in glory was a blessing that Peter, James and John were allowed to see. The presence of Elijah, Moses and the voice of God speaking from a cloud left no doubt that they were standing in the light of Divinity. Even though frightened, little wonder that they wanted to build three dwelling places for this moment to continue. Perhaps some jealousy rises to have a glimpse of what they witnessed. The great challenge for us is to look upon Jesus in the light of Mark’s witness and not from our personal/political agendas.

Context is so important. The verses prior to the transfiguration has Jesus teaching that to follow him meant putting aside our personal agendas to follow him. He spoke of taking up a cross if we are going to be his disciples and follow him. This isn’t easy to do. The vision we so often see of Jesus is the Lord who will restore the fortunes of our nation allowing us to maintain position of privilege. We see him giving us the power to shape the political landscape. Once more, this is for our gain. If we want to capture the vision of Jesus’ glory, Mark says that we must do so from the perspective of those putting to death our desire for personal or nationalistic glory.

The voice of God from the cloud was speaking to us, the church.

This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!

Mark 9:7

What was it that Jesus had to say? He ordered silence of what was seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead. The next verses have Jesus coming down from the mountain to set free a boy possessed by an evil spirit. A vision of Jesus’ glory is properly seen by what he sacrificed to rescue his world from evil. His glory is seen through the lens of a cross and the resurrection.

The title was about seeing Jesus in a new light. This isn’t easy because we are always projecting onto Jesus what we want to see. Namely, our own vision of glory and power. Mark is being very clear that to see a vision of Christ’s glory means putting this vision to death – a cross. Jesus’ glory comes through a cross and resurrection as he came to set the world free. This is where the transfigured Lord is sending the church. That is, if we are willing to listen to him.


A Jealous Hunger Luke 9:28-43

I have always struggled with the Transfiguration.  Reading about what Peter, John and James were privileged to see of Christ transfigured usually leads us down the path to our own moments of where we recognize Christ’s presence in our lives.  While these are nice, they pale in comparison to what they saw.  We might even feel shortchanged because faith would be so much easier if we saw what they saw, right?

This is the problem we have with glory.  We consider it a value to possess and control.  Glory is about us and how we see it.  We worship the glory rather than what lies behind the vision that overwhelms our sight.  Yes, Peter, John and James had an amazing vision of Christ’s glory but it was quick.  Jesus’ glory was his coming down to us to redeem us from the shrieking, life denying, convulsive evil that is all around us.  He came down to us to show us that the glory isn’t found in our search for mountain top experiences.  Glory goes to the One who alone will finally bring us, this world and all creation to completion through Christ’s cross and resurrection.

The verses prior to this Jesus is teaching his disciples about the need to take up the cross and follow him.  What good does it do to seek glory on human terms but fail to recognize that the glory of Christ is his coming down to save us?  What good does it do to sell our souls for the glory that is now and miss out on the glory that is yet to be?

I am going to look at the Transfiguration not as a frantic search for mountain top experiences and say that is glory.  I am going to look at the Transfiguration as a glorious vision of what will be.  Transfiguration is a jealous hunger.  To one day look upon Christ in the fullness of his glory means that death will be no more, swallowed up completely in his resurrection.  To one day look upon Christ in the fullness of his glory, is to have the shrieking, life defying and convulsive presence of evil silenced forever.  To look upon Christ in the fullness of his glory, means we and this world and all creation will have been brought to completion in Christ.  The Transfiguration for me is a jealous hunger to one day look upon the glory of Christ who has come down to save us.

What is the Transfiguration to you?