Matthew 17:1 Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. 2 And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. 3 Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. 4 Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 5 While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!”
This is the gospel passage for Transfiguration Sunday, which happens to be this coming Sunday. We started the season of Epiphany with the baptism of Jesus in which we’re told of a voice from heaven which spoke as Jesus came out of the water, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased…” Here we see it again along with the command “Listen to him!”
The exclamation point makes the command to listen emphatic. “Listen to him!”
God utters these words to the disciples because they haven’t been listening. Well, they’ve been listening but they haven’t been understanding. Jesus is going to die and be raised up again. The problem is there’s nothing in their imagination related to Jesus that includes the possibility he will actually die. The Messiah can’t die! But Jesus will die whether they’re ready or not.
Life is full of surprises, that’s for sure, especially for those of us who are followers of Jesus. And while I don’t have an earthly Jesus to speak to me I do have the scriptures and prayer. By the Holy Spirit living in me – and all believers – the Lord speaks. My question today is – am I listening? Lord, give me ears to hear you. Amen.