Mark 9:2-3,7,9 And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves; and he was transfigured before them, and his garments became glistening, intensely white, as no fuller on earth could bleach them. . . . And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, "This is my beloved Son; hear him." . . . And as they were coming down the mountain, he charged them to tell no one what they had seen, until the Son of man should have risen from the dead.
The old saying is, seeing is believing the problem is that such believing has little to do with faith, it is just reasonable to trust you senses, most of the time but you do need to remember that even your senses are not 100% reliable A stage magician can make large objects seem to disappear right before or eyes Of course it didnt disappear, but we just didnt understand what we saw.
Our Gospel Lesson is a case in point, of seeing, but not understanding. The disciples see the glory of God in Jesus, they even hear the voice, the words are plain This is my beloved Son! Hear him! And though they have seen so many pieces, it remains to the disciples a jigsaw puzzle. They dont see how it all fits together. And even though, looking back, we think we understand I wonder if we really grasp it all either.
Lets look at the pieces. There is no doubt that Jesus is a great teacher, even today his words echo with an authority that is not seen elsewhere. There still seems to be an understanding that everything is not right with the world, and that someone needs to set it straight. People are still searching for God, and a way to make peace with him. There is no doubt that the promise of a Messiah, Redeemer and Savior is still something people long for, and hope for.
So what is this transfiguration thing all about? If the whole story of Epiphany is the manifestation that is God making known who Jesus is is turned around in a glimpse of the glory of God in the face of Christ, we see why the star would lead the wisemen to the infant Jesus, the star could see the glory of God, while all we could see was the infant wrapped is swaddling clothes. In an instant we can see why the carpenters son from Nazareth, could heal the sick, raise the dead, and cast out demons. And even though we see this clearly, we still do not understand, for it is inconceivable that someone with such power should conquer death by dying in our place.
And that is how, even though we have the benefit of looking back, we are still in the same place as the first disciples, because we cannot see the big picture, we cannot see how the pieces fit together. It is not hard to picture God almighty, creator of all things, as one who is able to save, but that God almighty should die for us, that God should love us so much, that he gave his only Son to die for us. This is too wonderful for words, and it is almost more than our minds can grasp.
Why? It was necessary, that someone should keep the whole law, to show that the law was right and just and only someone who had already done everything required by the law, could lay down his life as a sacrifice for the sins of the whole world, one perfect sacrifice for the forgiveness of all our sins. Today we see this glory, the glory of the only begotten Son of God this is who Jesus is, this has been what Epiphany has been about, this is where it was all leading.
And there is glory yet to come, for not only is there the Triumphant return, but there is also Easter but first comes Lent, and we see why and how Jesus suffered, and how he gave his life as the perfect sacrifice, so that seeing this we can love God more deeply, and know for certain that our sins are truly forgiven.