August 6, 2022 –
The Transfiguration of the Lord
And behold, two men were conversing with Him… [speaking] of His exodus ….
Suffering is part and parcel of following Jesus. He teaches us this lesson through His Transfiguration.
There’s a simple contrast in today’s Gospel passage. Peter stands in contrast to Jesus. Peter says, “Master, it is good that we are here”, while Jesus does not reply. In fact, the evangelist does not quote Jesus at all in this passage. Not that Jesus doesn’t speak in this passage: we’re told that Jesus was conversing with Moses and Elijah, but we are not allowed to overhear their conversation.
Did Peter hear the conversation among Jesus, Moses and Elijah? It doesn’t seem so. Had Peter heard them, it’s not likely that he would have said what he did: “Master, it is good that we are here”. Peter certainly perceived the glory of Jesus, His changed face, and the brilliance of His white clothing. But had Peter heard the conversation of Jesus and His prophets, it’s unlikely that Peter would have said what he did.
Jesus, Moses and Elijah “spoke of Jesus’ exodus that He was going to accomplish in Jerusalem.” This exodus is not from the power of a pharaoh, or from the persecution of pagan prophets, but from the power of sin and death. You and I know the rest of the story: that Jesus accomplished this exodus on Calvary. We know that through His sin and death, you and I might have life to the full. Had Peter understood all this, he may have turned away from following Jesus.
Suffering is part and parcel of following Jesus. If we shy away from suffering for the good, we remove ourselves from Jesus’ presence. Only by remaining in the presence of Jesus can He lead us to the glory of the Father.
Transfiguration by Titian [c. 1488 – 1576]