NB it is hoped to return to Sunday Services very shortly (albeit in a restricted socially distanced way).
Why did the Lord take Peter, James, and John to the top of a high mountain and be transfigured in such a dramatic manner? There are many reasons, He did it to fulfil ancient prophecies, He did it to reveal His divine nature, He did it so that we could better understand His relationship with God the Father, He did it to demonstrate that death is not the end – having a chat with Moses and Elijah must have been an amazing moment, He did it to make all sorts of subtle theological claims about Himself and His place in salvation history; but perhaps most importantly, He did it so that Peter, James and John, would fully and truly believe in who He was and is. This was a moment to fortify themselves for the dark times ahead, the crucifixion and those early days of persecution were just over the horizon. And of course, the Transfiguration is an amazing moment of history, one would hope these privileged few disciples would go and tell others.
And we know that they did for in 2 Peter Chapter 1 we read, ‘it was not any cleverly invented myths that we were repeating when we brought you the knowledge of the power and the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ; we had seen His majesty for ourselves’. So to paraphrase, we have seen it, we have heard God the Father speak to us in His Sublime Glory, everything that was foretold about Him is true and we want you to know so that you can have full confidence that Jesus is the real deal. We are guardians of this great life-changing truth and we wish to pass it on to you, so that you too will come to believe what we know is true. The glorious truth that Our Lord Jesus Christ is indeed the Son of God and He has conquered death and all who believe in Him will dwell with Him in paradise forevermore.
It is a wonderful message, but we are of course inhabitants of a sinful, fallen world. There are many distractions around us, death, illness, ageing and suffering can threaten to knock us off course at various times in our lives. And that is perfectly normal. If you’ve ever struggled with your faith, had a bit of a wobble or been through a dry spell; you are in very good company. Even after the transfiguration, remarkable as that event was, Saint Peter, still didn’t fully grasp who Jesus truly was and he went on to publicly deny Him on the night of Our Lord’s arrest. It was only after the Resurrection and his baptism by the Holy Spirit that Peter was transformed into the man we read about throughout the book of Acts and of course in 2 Peter today. And of course, remember poor old Thomas where Jesus said to him, ‘Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’ Blessed are those who believe because of what they have read in the Bible, blessed are those who believe because of what they have heard preached in Church, blessed are those who believe because of what their parents, Sunday school teacher, friends, neighbours and so on taught.
‘You will be right to depend on prophecy’, we read in 2 Peter this morning. ‘And you will be right to depend on prophecy and take it as a lamp for lighting a way through the dark until the dawn comes and the morning star rises in your minds’. Where do we find the prophecies? In the Bible! The Bible is the lamp, the torch, the light and the truth which will guide us through times of darkness. We can pick it up whenever we want and reread amazing accounts like the Transfiguration at any time to fortify us for what lies ahead. The truth is the truth, God does not lie, His word does not change, the promise of life eternal is a glorious reality for all who place their trust in the Son of Man.