Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He did not know what to say, for they were terrified. Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!” Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus. As they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them to tell no one about what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead. So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what this rising from the dead could mean. Then they asked him, “Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” He said to them, “Elijah is indeed coming first to restore all things. How then is it written about the Son of Man, that he is to go through many sufferings and be treated with contempt? But I tell you that Elijah has come, and they did to him whatever they pleased, as it is written about him.”
Our reading today tells us the story of the Transfiguration that took place at a critical moment in the journey of Jesus and his disciples towards Jerusalem. Jesus has just predicted his own betrayal, arrest and crucifixion. Knowing that his time is short, and aware of the disciples’ fears, Jesus took Peter, James and John to go with him up to the mountain. The text says, “And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus… Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!”
In this moment the disciples come to know Jesus as the One who gives the Law and the Prophets their meaning. He is revealed through this transfiguration as the son of God. What should we make of this event in the midst of Lent? Just as Jesus invites the disciples into this moment of intimacy, he is inviting us into deeper intimacy and relationship with him. We learn that God is still revealing God’s self on the mountaintops and by extension in the valleys of our lives, inviting us to “listen” to Jesus, the beloved Son. Listening to Jesus means transforming our lives and turning toward him. The Lenten journey is our opportunity to grow more into the image and likeness of Jesus so that we may help transform a world so much in need of his love.
O God, who on the holy mount revealed to chosen witnesses your well-beloved Son, wonderfully transfigured, in raiment white and glistening: Mercifully grant that we, being delivered from the disquietude of this world, may by faith behold the King in his beauty; who with you, O Father, and you, O Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (BCP)