Exodus 34:29-35, Mark 9:2-13
March 3, 2019
Something you’ve heard me say a lot lately is that “Jesus is who he said he is.” Not only that, but “Jesus is who God said he is.” At his baptism, the very voice of God himself said of Jesus, “This is my beloved Son!”
That’s very good for us. As I’ve said all along, we need to know that “Jesus is who he says he is.” We need to be reminded that “Jesus is who he said he is” – All the time! Because we have our doubts, don’t we? And we live in a world that would tell us otherwise!
So, I ask you, do you know that Jesus is who he said he is? I hope you do! Because I believe we can know that. We can know it better than the disciples knew it. Because this was all new to them. Yes, they heard the voice of God. That had to have been amazing. But, it also had to be shocking and. in the truest sense of the word, “unbelievable.” Or at least “difficult to believe.”
Each Sunday since we read that story, we’ve looked at story after story that proved that Jesus is who he said he is. Even though Jesus himself kept it a “secret” through much of Mark’s Gospel, he proved it in many ways. He proved it in the way he taught with authority. He proved it in the way he healed the sick. He proved it by the way the demons he cast out identified him. He proved it in the way he commanded the winds and waves. And then last week he saw how he proved it in the multiplying of the loaves and fishes.
So, I hope you know it. I hope you know that Jesus is who he said he is. If you’re not sure, then tell yourself he is, every day, over and over. And ask God for the faith to believe. Because it is the most important thing about Jesus. He is who he said he is, or else the rest of his life and ministry comes “unraveled.”
So, Jesus proved, in everything he did, that he is who he said he is. And now, today, we have the greatest proof yet! Jesus took his closest friends up on the mountaintop, and there he showed himself in his heavenly, spiritual, godly, form!
Now, can we see this in our minds? Can we even begin to imagine this? Last week I said I had a hard time picturing the feeding of the 5K. What did it look like when Jesus multiplied the loaves? Well, I’m guessing we all have a hard time picturing this one! Or at least we have a mental image of it that is inadequate. Because whatever it looked like, I’m convinced that this event was bigger, more spiritual, and more powerful than we can ever imagine!
For one thing, I think it was scary! It was scary to these men! Whenever an angel appeared to anyone, the first words they usually said were, “Be not afraid.” Angels are fearsome creatures – and not just in a “I’ve seen a ghost” kind of scary. But in a fearsome, powerful, kind of scary.
Well, I think this event, this “Transfiguration” had a lot of that! The disciples were frightened! They didn’t know what to say! Finally, Peter makes this statement about making booths. I know that sounds kind of odd to us. But maybe it would sound less odd if we used the word “shrines.” “Let us make three shrines – to commemorate this event!” (The Jewish people did that kind of thing.) But relevant or not, Peter’s statement seems incongruous with what was happening, and Jesus doesn’t even acknowledge that he said it!
This event is beyond that! It tells us that Jesus is who he said he is. And he would do what he said he was going to do. In Luke’s Gospel, we learn what Moses and Elijah were talking with Jesus about in this Transfiguration. They were talking about his “departure.” They were talking about his death. They were talking about what Jesus was trying to convince his disciples was going to happen. But, of course, they wouldn’t hear of it!
Perhaps they needed to hear it not just from Jesus, but from the two greatest patriarchs in their history! Moses, the greatest figure of the Exodus, and Elijah, the greatest of the prophets. And notice that the disciples knew who these men were, despite the centuries that lay between them! (And long before the age of photography!)
I believe the disciples saw that vision because they needed this assurance. They needed this proof. They needed to know who Jesus was! They needed a spiritual “shot in the arm.” They needed to see that this whole thing was much bigger than just their desire to be free from Rome. They needed to know beyond a doubt that Jesus is who he said he is.
And so, this Transfiguration. And so, the disciples heard the voice of God – again. So what about us? As we are about to begin the Season of Lent, as we begin to prepare ourselves once again for the celebration of Easter – the Greatest proof of who Jesus is – I think this is a good time to ask the question, “What does it mean to you, that Jesus is who he said he is?” “What does it mean to you, that Jesus proved who he said he is?” That’s one of the most important things we find in the Gospel story. And maybe we should ask, is it the most important thing in your life.
Eternal God, help us to know once again, and for all times, that Jesus is who he said h is. Help us to follow him, to rest in our redemption through him, and to seek to be his light to the world around us. These things we pray in his name, Amen.