Godpel Reading: Matthew 17:1-9
Jesus is the fulfillment of all the promises made to Abraham and to his spiritual descendants. He succeeded because he obeyed his Father's will. Jesus knew that the only way to glory in God's kingdom was by yielding his will to the will of the Father. We catch a glimpse of this glory when Jesus takes three of his disciples to a lonely place on a high mountain. Jesus often went to a lonely place to pray – to seek solitude and sanctuary away from the crowds. But on this occasion, the Gospel of Luke tells us that as Jesus "was praying, the appearance of his countenance was altered, and his raiment became dazzling white." (Luke 9:29). Matthew states simply that Jesus was "transfigured before them".
When Moses met with God on Mount Sinai the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God (see Exodus 34:29). Paul says that the Israelites could not look at Moses' face because of its brightness (2 Corinthians 3:7). In this incident Jesus appeared in glory with Moses, the great lawgiver of Israel, and with Elijah, the greatest of the prophets, in the presence of three of his beloved apostles.
What is the significance of this mysterious appearance? Jesus went to the mountain knowing full well what awaited him in Jerusalem – his betrayal, rejection and crucifixion. Jesus very likely discussed this momentous decision to go to the cross with Moses and Elijah. God the Father also spoke with Jesus and gave his approval: This is my beloved Son; listen to him. The Father glorified his son because he obeyed. The cloud which overshadowed Jesus and his apostles fulfilled the dream of the Jews that when the Messiah came the cloud of God's presence would fill the temple again (see Exodus 16:10, 19:9, 33:9; 1 Kings 8:10; 2 Maccabees 2:8).The Lord Jesus not only wants us to see his glory – he wants to share this glory with us. And Jesus shows us the way to the Father's glory – follow me – obey my words – take the path I have chosen for you and you will receive the blessings of my Father's kingdom – your name will be written in heaven. Jesus succeeded in his mission because he went to Calvary so that Paradise would be restored to us once again. He embraced the cross to obtain the crown of glory that awaits each of us, if we will follow in his footsteps.