The Theology of Transfiguration of Our Lord - II
- The conversation with Moses and Elijah showed that the forthcoming death of Christ was in full harmony with the law and prophets. The climax was the voice of God speaking from heaven and warning them not to put Jesus on the same plane with Moses and Elijah, nor to hesitate to follow Him because God the Father well pleased with the conduct and course of His beloved Son.
The glory of His submission : Peter could not understand why the Son of God would submit to evil men and willingly suffer. The Transfiguration was God's way of teaching Peter that Jesus is glorified when we deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him. The world's philosophy is "save yourself" (Matt. 27: 40), but the Christian philosophy is "yield yourself to God". As He stood there in glory, Jesus proved to the three disciples that surrender always leads to glory. First the suffering, then the glory; first the cross, then the crown.
Each of the three disciples would have a need for the important truth. James would be the first of the disciples to die ( Acts 12 : 1-2). John would be the last, but he would go through severe persecution on the Isle of Patmos (Rev.1: 9) Peter would experience many occasions suffering and at the end gave his life for Christ. Peter opposed the Cross when Jesus first mentioned His death (Matt. 16 : 22). In the Garden he used the sword to defend Jesus, infact even on the Mount of Transfiguration Peter tried to tell Jesus what to do. He wanted to build three booths (Tabernacles) for Jersus, Moses and Elias so that all of them could remain there and enjoy the glory. But the Father interrupted Peter and gave other directions: "Hear Him". The Father will not permit His beloved Son to be put on the level of Moses and Elijah. "Jesus" only the God's pattern. Jesus cautioned them not to reveal what they had seen and heard even to other nine disciples.
"In man, the body is a kind of cage of the soul. In Christ, the Body was the Temple of Divinity. In the Garden of Eden, we know that man and woman were naked but not ashamed. This is because the glory of the soul before sin shone through the body and became a kind of raiment. Here too in the Transfiguration, the Divinity shone through humanity. It was restraint to hide the Divinity that was in Him. "As He prayed, the appearance of His face was altered, and His robe became white and glistening. .... who appeared in glory and spoke of His decease (exodus) which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem" ( Luke 9 : 29-30). ( Fulton J.Sheen- Archbishop).After many years later, Peter realized and boldly proclaimed "For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellant Glory: "Thyis is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased". And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the Holy Mountain" ( 2 Peter 1 : 16 - 18). No mortal can fully understand the Glory of God ( Shekinah ), for I am but the despicable dust of the earth. May God bless us all.
Fr.Dr.V.C.Varghese, Sugar Land, Tx.