2021_03_01 Insight Post- Kim Feld
This week's reading- Matthew 17 & 18
I have always been fascinated with the transfiguration of Jesus. What was witnessing this like for Peter, James, and John? Merriam-Webster defines transfiguration as a change in form or appearance and uses the word “metamorphosis” as a synonym. We don’t know exactly what this change looked like, but Matthew, Mark, and Luke all describe Jesus’ face changing somehow and His clothing being brilliantly white. Elijah and Moses were also present, representing the Prophets and the Law.
At the end of Matthew 16, Jesus comments that some of those with Him will not die until they see the Son of Man (Jesus) coming into His kingdom. Obviously, they all passed before seeing Jesus return at the end of time, so scholars speculate that Jesus was referring to what Peter, James, and John were soon to witness on the mountain top with Him. I can only imagine what that must have been like visually, and to hear God’s voice speak audibly from the cloud. Matthew says they were terrified and fell face down on the ground when they heard it, but Jesus gently told them not to be afraid, and when they looked up, they only saw Jesus.
Jesus gave them a glimpse of Himself in His glory, and I would imagine that was an image burned into their minds for the rest of their lives. It is overwhelming for me to put that picture next to the image of suffering on the cross, but the cross and glory are forever intertwined. Jesus willingly came from that glory, suffered an excruciating and humiliating death, and then returned to His rightful place in glory, having secured a way for you and me to be with Him. It wasn’t the nails that kept Him on the cross; it was love. That kind of love can change hearts and lives and can even change the world if we allow it.
Matthew 17:8 says, “And when they looked up, Moses and Elijah were gone, and they saw only Jesus.” I see an incredible amount of symbolism in that statement. Jesus is the culmination of the Law and the Prophets. He is the long-awaited Messiah, the One who was to come to set things right, to usher in the kingdom of heaven to earth. Only Jesus. He is the very center of our faith, not Jesus plus something else. Only Jesus. May we focus our eyes on Jesus today, not being distracted by anything else.
Executive Director of Education and Outreach