Granada Hills, CA
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First, we must keep in mind that Jesus did not perform signs and miracles for himself or fame. He was twice tempted by the devil to do so, by turning stones into bread and by jumping off the temple roof, and he adamantly refused. And his miracles were not just for the physical benefit of the people he healed. They were for the spiritual benefit of the people who witnessed the miracles, and ultimately, of us, as believers.
So Jesus was transfigured (changed in form and appearance) physically, so that Peter, James, and John could be transfigured spiritually. They saw Jesus in all of his glory so that they themselves could be filled with the Spirit, and ultimately be encouraged and energized as witnesses in the world. But then again, if that’s true, then why did he tell them not to say anything yet? Because it wasn’t time. The world wasn’t yet ready to know of Christ in all of his glory. Even the disciples weren’t quite ready.
When Peter saw Jesus, talking with Moses and Elijah, he wanted to set up booths or tents for them, places for them to stay, for a night, for a week, or for as long as they could. Peter wanted to camp out and remain in this one glorious moment. Perhaps he wanted to stay there and learn from these prophets of ages past. Perhaps he wanted to bring the other disciples to see Jesus in all his glory. But whatever he wanted, it wasn’t what God had in mind. The purpose of the transfiguration wasn’t so they could remain on the mountain, but so that they could go out into the world, filled with the Spirit through what they had seen.
If Peter, one of Jesus’ closest companions, had this reaction to Jesus’ transfiguration, how would the other disciples and the rest of the world react when they heard about it? They’d all want to see it for themselves, and maybe even keep it to themselves. They’d crowd around and yell for Jesus to bring Moses and Elijah in for a panel discussion. They’d try to make him their ruler, and beg him to set up a kingdom here on Earth, as they often did.
But it wasn’t time for Jesus’ full glory to be displayed to the world. First he had to be humbled, to suffer and die on a cross for our sins, and then his full glory would be revealed through his resurrection and ascension. Then he charged his disciples with spreading the news of his glory to all the nations of the world. With this new responsibility and job, Peter, James, and John were equipped with an amazing story of their experience with Jesus on the mountain, in all of his heavenly glory for the sake of the world. For what purpose? So that we all might be transfigured and changed by God’s love for us through Jesus Christ.
- Which of Jesus’ signs and miracles would you say you’ve been most changed by?
Which one speaks to you the most, personally and spiritually? Why?
- If someone showed you something incredible, then warned you not to tell anyone about it, do you think you could keep your mouth shut? Or would you spread the news to everyone? Who would you tell, email, call, or text first?
- Why do you think Jesus chose three specific disciples — Peter, James, and John — out of all the others to witness his transfiguration? How do you think they were transformed or given a “makeover” by witnessing it?
- How is Nicole Nagy’s “Career Makeover” for her vocation of nursing like our transformation as children of God for our vocation of spreading the gospel to those around us? How are they different?
- Find some of the other places in the gospels wherein Jesus charges people not to tell anyone about the miracle he’s just performed. Do they tell? Why does Jesus warn them not to in each instance?
- Make your own video or skit about Jesus’ Transfiguration, and the reactions of the disciples, both at the time, and after Jesus’ resurrection. Include a song or two if you want.
Lord Jesus Christ, transform me. Fill me with your Spirit and guide me, so that I can do the things you ask of me: to serve you and all people, and to spread your word of love, forgiveness, hope, and new life. Amen.
The top five finalists were chosen by a panel of judges who based their decision on originality, creativity, and humor. Then the winner was selected by the listeners of a local radio station, who voted for their favorite video on the station’s website.
“It was a way to connect to job seekers,” said Kimberly Cornett, Vice President of Workforce Central Florida, who helped sponsor the event. “And also for job seekers to take a little break from the stress of unemployment.”
Would you videotape yourself singing and dancing in order to get into the career you wanted or get a promotion? What would you sing?
Do you think the contest is a good idea? How do you think it will help more people find jobs? What are the downsides?
If you had the means, how would you help people who have lost their jobs and are looking for a new career? What would you do for them? What would you ask them to do?
Scripture Texts (NRSV) for Sunday, March 1, 2009.
(Text links are to oremus Bible Browser. Oremus Bible Browser is not affiliated with or supported by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. You can find the calendar of readings for Year B at Lectionary Readings.)