It is no secret that I love the Scriptures. It is no secret that I love the God I find in the Scriptures. Today marks the first day that I will be taking the Lectionary text for the day (provided by the PCUSA), studying it and doing my best exposition of it within the confines of this blog. Throughout the days I may post other things, but you can come to expect these little personal devotions every day.
Today’s text comes from Matthew 17:1-13. This is a text that has a million different interpretations. I ask that you read the text slowly. Take it in. Breathe in the words and meditate on them before reading my anecdotes.
“1Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. 2And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. 3Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. 4Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 5While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” 6When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. 7But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Get up and do not be afraid.” 8And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone.
9As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, “Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.” 10And the disciples asked him, “Why, then, do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” 11He replied, “Elijah is indeed coming and will restore all things; 12but I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but they did to him whatever they pleased. So also the Son of Man is about to suffer at their hands.” 13Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them about John the Baptist.”
For those of you of the curious sort, the “Six days later” at the beginning of the text is referring to Peter affirming Jesus’ Christhood (son of God) and Jesus predicting his own death. Chapters 16 and 17 of Matthew seem to be really focused on proving the deity of Christ while other parts of Matthew seem to accentuate Christ’s humanness.
After Christ brought these men to the top of this mountain, His face shines like the Sun and Elijah and Moses appear and start talking with Jesus. Let us not forget that John, James and Peter were Jews. Elijah and Moses were historical figures they would have recognized. And then Peter says, “Jesus, this is a cool thing. Let me build houses for you three.”
There are two interpretations of this scene that I find to be ‘most true’. Those of you who have been schooled in Scripture will remember Jesus’ saying, “I have come to fulfill the Prophets and the Law.” I believe this to be the physical representation of that statement. On Jesus’ right was Moses (the Law) and on His left was Elijah (the Prophet). I can just imagine after Peter asked to build the dwellings for the three Jesus saying, “Oooh, Peter! Don’t you get it? These are not separate from me, but the Law and the Prophets are parts of my being. And I have come to make them no longer necessary, even though they are still good.”
The second interpretation of this scene in the text that I find to be true is that Jesus tends to work withn the context we know. Those men with Jesus that day were Jews. So, who was to appear to them? Well, of course it’s going to be heroes of the Jewish faith (Moses and Elijah). If this were to happen today, on Jesus’ right may be Mother Teresa and on his left may be Martin Luther King Jr. Jesus works in the contexts we know. He works with me through Scripture (and sometimes Johnny Cash lyrics).
Here’s the honest to goodness truth though: God is yearning to appear (make Himself known) to you within the context you know. God wants to reveal His glory in your life. Where can we expect to see a revelation of God? Around every corner.
I want to introduce you to the God I know. I want to introduce you to the God that loves me (and you) just THE WAY WE ARE. Let’s have coffee. Let’s share a meal. Meet me and the rest of the Church of the Misfits, Sunday nights at 7 pm at Sister Louisa’s Church (it’s a bar) and let’s talk.
May the peace and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you, from now and even unto the end of the age.