6 August 2014

1 John 3:1-3

“What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is.” (v. 2b)


Today the Church celebrates the Feast of Jesus' Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-11; Mark 9:2-13; Luke 9:28-36). This passage in John's first letter helps us to reflect on the mystery that the Gospel writers describe. The letter, although not having the traditional structure of a letter, is written for a community where some have broken away, and urges its readers to hold fast to the message they heard in the beginning, despite the difficulties of life. John's community has a strong identity formed around its sense of belonging to God. There is an echo in this passage of the Transfiguration account where the voice from heaven declares Jesus to be God's beloved Son (Mark 9:7) and the same love declares John's community, and by extension us as contemporary readers, to be God's children. Notice that the author says repeatedly that the readers are called God's children (verses 1, 2)andthat is what they are: the emphasis is strong and clear.

The letter draws strong parallels between the community and God revealed in Christ. The world does not know them because it did not God. When God is revealed, they will be like God, although they do not know quite what that will look like. All who have hope in God will be pure just as God is pure.

In the Transfiguration, we see Jesus' human body changed in the light of God's power (Mark 9:2-3). Some traditions hold this to be the 'uncreated' light that comes directly from God, rather than the normal light of our physical world. We cannot understand the nature of this event but in it we see something not only of Jesus but of our own destiny in God.

To Ponder

  • Where do you see God's presence in your daily life?
  • What in you needs to change that you might reveal God more?

Bible notes author

The Revd Mark Rowland

Mark Rowland is originally from Aberystwyth and was ordained in 2011. In September 2014 he will begin a new appointment in the Coventry and Nuneaton Circuit, serving Coventry Central Hall and Woodside Avenue Methodist Church.