The gospel text assigned from Mark 9 for Transfiguration Sunday includes verses 2 & 9: “Six days later, Jesus took with Him, Peter, James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And He was transfigured before …” Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, “This is My Son, the Beloved; listen to Him!”
Seeing Jesus’ transfiguration take place, along with the sudden appearing of Moses and Elijah, Peter decided, “Wow, I’m glad we didn’t miss this,” and suggested they stay up on the mountain to build 3 shelters dedicated to the 3. After all, confronted with a situation like this, one should not just stand there; but do something.
Most sermons I’ve heard on this passage always emphasized the need to NOT stay up on the mountains with our head in the clouds, but use mountaintop experiences like this one to empower us to go back into the valley of human need and do something about what we find there.
If we don’t merge both the mountaintop experience with our actions in the valley of human need, we will be “Missing the Point.” The Transfiguration supports the identity of Jesus as the Son of God. God speaking to the disciples saying, “Listen to Him” identifies Jesus as the messenger and mouth-piece of God. This means that what Jesus tells us is exactly what God wants us to know. And what would that be?
Jesus said that the greatest commandments are “loving God and loving others.” Jesus said, “I give you a new command that you love one another as I have loved you.” Any teaching contrary to this is not of God.
Emphasizing the importance of love in action, Jesus said, “The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim freedom for the prisoner and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Join us in worship at Covenant this Transfiguration Sunday. I’ll be preaching a sermon called “Missing the Point” based on Mark 9:2-9.