There are times when my mind cannot grasp Jesus. Hank Hannagragh says we cannot comprehend God, we can only apprehend him. There is real truth to this statement.
One of the amazing supernatural stories of Jesus is his transfiguration found in Matt 17 and Luke 9. Peter, James, and John get what amounts to back stage passes to Jesus’ defeat of Satan and the fulfillment of God’s Kingdom in full display before anyone else as he talks with two of the other “principle performers” of God’s story.
Picture the scene. Jesus picks the three disciples out and leads them up a high mountain by themselves. When they arrive Jesus’ face shines like the sun, his clothes become as white as light, and he’s in a conversation with Moses and Elijah. And later Peter, James and John are enveloped in a bright cloud and the voice of God emanates from it and God speaks to them. Now those are some special effects.
I can identify with Peter – he reacts by wanting to build shelters for the prophets and Jesus, as if they needed them. I don’t know what I would have done, but I can see myself reacting like Peter and missing meaning of the whole event by trying to “do” something. Or I might have been like the James and John. We never hear them speak, so it may be that they were just dumbfounded, at awe of what was going on in front of them. I can totally relate to that too.
In Luke it says Moses and Elijah were talking about Jesus’ departure, so they must have had insight into the journey Jesus was about to take to fulfill God’s purposes. How privileged these two disciples were, to be privy to this amazing pre-event conversation.
But while Peter was “still speaking”, a bright cloud envelopes them, and a voice from the cloud says: “This is my Son, whom I love, with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” Note, there is an exclamation point in the text. It’s like God saying: “hey Peter quit talking and doing and get a grip!”, “look at what’s occurring in front of you and see who this Jesus is and listen to him!”, or “he is the fulfillment of all scripture, my story!”, or “quit just doing stuff!” Man, can I identify with Peter.
When the three disciples hear this: “they fall facedown to the ground terrified”. The text says: ”but Jesus came and touched them.”. He says: “get up” and “don’t be afraid”. And it is only Jesus who is still there.
Picturing and digesting this scene I see the majesty, and the otherworldliness of Jesus. I see the Kingdom of God in his life, and the fulfillment of and linkage to the Old Testament. I also see his tenderness and patience, grace, and mercy.
I am sure this amazing event speaks to you in a unique way and I trust you are impacted for Christ as a result. Jesus is God, and human. He is the Alpha and Omega. He is beyond our comprehension and also very personal. And he alone is worthy of our praise and worship. Amen!