GodReflection: It’s Jesus Friday
Matthew chronicles the story:
After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.
Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”
When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.
Talk about a mind-boggling experience. How many times had the three young men listened to the stories of their elders tell about the leader Moses and the fiery chariot ride of Elijah?
There the three stood in the very presence of Old Testament legends. How did they recognize the heroes? Had they heard Jesus call Moses and Elijah by their names? Was there a reference to a familiar story within the conversation? Did Moses comment on finally placing his feet in the promised land?
I would be right there with Peter ready to raise monuments.
Then the kicker comes. As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”
They are the only three people in the history of the world who listened in on a conversation between Moses, Elijah, and Jesus. Now they find out they can’t tell anyone—not their families, not their fellow apostles, and not even one friend.
All of the above stirs my imagination. How many months—or perhaps years—did it take until Matthew heard the story?
Yet, a truth hit me square in the heart as I stood in front of the class.
It was a teaching moment that I will not forget. I was the one taught. It was the summation statement of Matthew when he hears the report after the resurrection that caught my attention. When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.
It was Jesus alone.
The voice of God declares from the clouds that Moses and the great prophets like Elijah served their purpose but from that moment the voice of Jesus became the voice that matters.
The Jesus transfiguration story is the lens through which I attempt to read Scripture.
The story of Scripture is Jesus. I give special weight to his teaching in the Gospels. It is Jesus alone.
I want to be careful how I express myself in the following paragraph.
I believe totally and completely in the inspiration of Scripture and the act of God through the writing and compilation of the New Testament Letters. With that said, I am still to listen to Jesus alone.
I find consistency throughout the New Testament.
However, when I do come across a passage that seems unclear I want my first reaction to be to run it through the screen of Jesus’ life and teachings.
Could there be something going on in a specific cultural setting that leaves me without needed background information for clarity? I remind myself that I live 2000 years this side of the passage in question.
I want to hear again the voice of Holy God from the clouds, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”
I want to stand among the three on my own Mount of Confusion and see no one except Jesus.
Dr. Gary J. Sorrells – A GodReflection on Jesus Alone.