Our Gospel this week is Mark 9:2-9, taken today from the New International Version (NIV).
After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.) Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!” Suddenly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus. As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus gave them orders not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead.
Transfigured is a word we don’t encounter often in everyday conversation. The dictionary tells us it means “transformed into something more beautiful or elevated”. While this definition gives us an idea about the word, it doesn’t fit the context of what is happening in our scripture passage.
Jesus wasn’t changed, the disciples were finally able to see Him as He is. It is a wonderful but frightening experience for them, seeing Jesus in His glory, conversing with Moses, who had brought them God’s law, and Elijah, the greatest of their prophets. This connection is important for Jesus has told them “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them” (Matthew 5:17).
The disciples may see Jesus differently after this lesson. He shared this experience to help us understand who He is and what God has asked of Him. Jesus is unchanging but He has come to change us, that we might all have eternal life with Him.
Heavenly Father, we thank You for sending Your Son that we might be saved. Help us to accept the change needed in our lives, to go and tell the world what You have done for us. Amen.