Matthew 16:28-17:1 Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom. And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain apart.
What is the purpose of the Transfiguration? Why is it there, what does it say? What is the focus? For us, there is one thing, which is the most important – and that is, that we see Jesus. That we see Jesus as Emanuel, God with us, a savior who is well able to save. It is important to see the glory of God, so that we know what sin is separating us from – for sin separates us from God. And the reason why this is so important for us, is we live in a culture of separation, we live in a culture that doesn’t resolve conflict, we manage conflict – and one of the chief ways we manage, is that we manage to run away from our problems, rather than facing them.
Imagine if you will, that you are Peter, Jesus has just praised you because you had the correct answer to the question, who am I – you didn’t understand what you said, and as Jesus began to explain what it meant, you started to correct Jesus – not according to God’s will, but to your own opinion – and then Jesus turned and said to you – Get thee behind me Satan! In our world, that would be enough, enough to make you look for another Savior. How could Jesus say something like that to you?
When the law confronts sin, the first response is often defensive. You’re wrong. You’re just as much as sinner. You’re no saint. No one likes to see their sins, and according to our human nature it is hard to imagine that anyone could really love to meditate on the law of God all the time, who really wants to see that much of their own sins. We imagine that it is the law that brings people to repentance, because the law shows them the sins they need to turn from. I tell you what you need to do, and you do it!
But repentance doesn’t work that way. While repentance needs the law that shows us our sins, shows us how we have separated ourselves from God, shows us what we by our sins have earned and deserve. The power that leads to repentance is not the law, but the Gospel – the love of God which is ours in Jesus Christ, the word which creates faith, and the faith that has made us a new creation. It is only in faith that we can want to turn from our sins. It is only by grace that we can turn from our sins.
Its so simple, it right there in plan sight – God so love the world that he gave his only begotten son so that whosoever believeth in him HAS everlasting life. We don’t have to wait to see if we will go to heaven, in Christ we are told we already have everlasting life. It is the hope, the promise, the love, and the grace that enable us to turn from sin and return to God.
And that is how the transfiguration works – seeing the glory of God in the face of Christ, we say to ourselves, how can we let anything separate us from something so wonderful.