Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Today we conclude the Epiphany season with our celebration of the Transfiguration. The theme of this season is the manifestations of the divinity of Jesus Christ, often by light and sound. The Magi found the Baby Jesus by the light of a star. At the baptism of Jesus was heard the voice of the Father from heaven. In this story the light shines and the Father's voice sounds too.
God is spirit, so how can we experience the presence of God? Sometimes God allows us visible and audible signs of H presence. At the baptism of Jesus, they heard the voice of the Father, saw the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove and the Son in the person of Jesus. Also in the Transfiguration, the three disciples, Peter, John and James, heard the Father's voice with these Words, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am content; hear Him.” The Son was present in the person of Jesus, who was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garment became white as light.
Where were the Holy Spirit? "And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, speaking with Him." We confess in the Nicene Creed that the Holy Spirit spoke by the prophets and Moses and Elijah were the greatest prophets of the Old Testament before John the Baptist.
In our Old Testament reading (Exodus 34: 29-35), when Moses came down from Mount Sinai, after talking with God, his face reflected the glory of God's presence. “And Aaron and all the children of Israel looked at Moses, and, behold, the complexion of his face was shining; and they were afraid to approach him. And Moses called them; and Aaron and all the princes of the congregation returned to him, and Moses spoke to them. And then all the children of Israel approached, to whom he commanded all the things that Jehovah had said to him on Mount Sinai. And when Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil on his face. ”
Moses did not see the glory of God directly, because the Lord told him, no one can see His face and live. However, the three disciples saw the divine light directly, but with Jesus as their filter. It doesn't matter, they were very afraid too. “Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, Lord, it is good that we are here; if you want, let's make three tabernacles here; one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah. While He was still speaking, a glowing cloud covered them; and there was a voice from the cloud, which said: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am content; hear Him. And when the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces, and feared greatly. ”
When they heard the voice of Jesus again, they saw no one but Jesus. “And when they came down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying: Do not tell anyone the vision, until the Son of Man rises from the dead.” The risen Christ appeared to all the disciples, but before Holy Week, before the time of trial, the three who needed it most received a preview of the glory of Christ.
And none of them forgot. Peter says in our epistle, “Because He received from God the Father honor and glory, when a great voice was sent from the magnificent glory that said: This is my beloved Son, in which I am content. And we heard this voice sent from heaven, when we were with Him on the holy mountain. ”
John also said, "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us (and we saw his glory, glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth" (John 1:14), and James, "All blessings and every perfect gift descends from above, from the Father of the lights, in which there is no change, no shadow of variation ” (James 1:17).
The apostles had the testimony of their own eyes of the Transfiguration and then the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And something else. "We also have the most sure prophetic word, which you do well to be attentive as to a lamp that shines in a dark place until the day dawns, and the morning star rises in your hearts."
The apostles were called directly by Jesus Christ to proclaim new doctrine. Old Testament prophets wrote their books under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The apostles received the direct vision of God's glory in Christ to assure them that their written testimony would have the same authority. Now we have the full testimony of the prophets and the apostles, inspired by the Holy Spirit Himself as a lamp that illuminates the darkness until the day when Christ will return in visible glory. Until that day we hear the voice of God in the Holy Scriptures and experience God's presence in the sacraments. In this we have the peace that surpasses all understanding. Amen.
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