Saturday 29 October 2022

Bible Book:
Matthew

'This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!' (v. 5)

Matthew 17:1-8 Saturday 29 October 2022

Psalm 95

Background

There’s a passage in 2 Peter where the author writes about his experience of being an eye witness to Jesus' Transfiguration and uses it to encourage his readers are to be faithful, "until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts" (2 Peter 1:19), meaning until the end of all time. When the Early Church thought about the Transfiguration, they drew a message of hope centred on Jesus, despite the trials and distractions they faced.

The details we are given today in our reading from Matthew’s Gospel highlight this. There is evidence that Moses and Elijah, the change in Jesus’ clothing and the very presence of the cloud were all understood in Jesus’ day as signs of God’s final coming. Peter offers to make three shelters (v. 4), which may also be significant. The Jewish festival of tabernacles (or shelters) had become one of the most joyous Jewish festivals. It recalled the exodus experience: commemorating Israel's wilderness wanderings. Perhaps of even greater interest is Zechariah's hope (14:16-19) that, in the new age, the nations which have survived the judgement will come to Jerusalem to observe this festival. Are we therefore to read Peter's offer to construct three dwellings as a recognition that the last days have arrived and that it is time to settle down and enjoy them? If so Peter, like all Christians since, needed to learn that the only way to God’s glory is the way of the Cross.

 It’s not an easy lesson to learn. We read on Thursday of how Jesus started to challenge his disciples’ understanding of what being the Messiah and Lord really meant. His talk of undergoing suffering, and his insistence that the disciples should not publicise their conviction that he was God’s Christ, must have made Peter and the others wonder whether he was really God’s chosen one after all. Those disciples who were with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration were allowed to see God’s glory in Christ. They heard the heavenly voice say that they should listen to Jesus. It didn’t make their discipleship easy from then on, but they did keep going.

 

To Ponder:

  •  Try to imagine that you were with Peter, James and John on the mountain top. How would you have felt?
  •  What encourages you to keep going as a Christian?

Prayer

The Collect for the Sunday before Lent:
God of life and light, your son was revealed in majesty before he suffered death upon the cross. Give us grace to perceive his glory that we may be strengthened to follow him and be changed into his likeness, from glory to glory; who is alive and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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