Transfiguration of Christ
Luke 9:28-36 [37-43a]
28Now about eight days after these sayings Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. 29And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. 30Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to Jesus. 31They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. 32Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, they saw the glory of Jesus and the two men who stood with him. 33Just as the men were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah”—not knowing what he said. 34While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud. 35Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!” 36When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they had seen. [
37On the next day, when they had come down from the mountain, a great crowd met Jesus. 38Just then a man from the crowd shouted, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son; he is my only child. 39Suddenly a spirit seizes him, and all at once he shrieks. It convulses him until he foams at the mouth; it mauls him and will scarcely leave him. 40I begged your disciples to cast it out, but they could not.” 41Jesus answered, “You faithless and perverse generation, how much longer must I be with you and bear with you? Bring your son here.” 42While he was coming, the demon dashed him to the ground in convulsions. But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, healed the boy, and gave him back to his father. 43aAnd all were astounded at the greatness of God.]
Jesus wasn’t the only one that changed that day, I think the other thing that transfigured that day was the way in which the disciples understood the way the kingdom works. That just as much as they had a spiritual high encountering God – they realized there were deep needs in the world. Called down from the mountain they are face to face with evil spirits that still grip the world. And isn’t it like that for us too? We experience the spiritual high of God in worship, only to be sent from this place to encounter the evil spirits of the world out there – evil spirits that this week we can still see clearly on display in our world like homophobia and transphobia. We see the evils spirits of a broken economic system trap people in poverty as we live in the shadow of one of the poorest cities in our country. We see our society still struggle with the evil spirit of racism as we fight to see our neighbor as ourselves. Perhaps the transfiguration of greatest value in this story is that we see Jesus rebuke these evil forces that keep people from experiencing life as God intends… and I believe Jesus is still coming down from the mountain to do that today.