Key Text

Matthew 17:1-9

Jesus took Peter and the brothers, James and John, and led them off up a high mountain. Before their very eyes, the way Jesus looked was suddenly changed from the inside out. His face shone like the sun and his clothing became so white it was dazzling. And, lo and behold, they saw Moses and Elijah there too, in deep conversation with Jesus.

Peter said, "Lord, this is fantastic! What a moment! If you like, I will knock up three huts, so that you, Moses and Elijah can all stay here longer."

Even before he finished getting the words out, a dazzling cloud engulfed them all. Deep within the cloud, a voice boomed forth: 'This is my Son who I love greatly and who fills me with pride. Listen to him!'

When Peter, James and John heard this, they hit the deck, dumbfounded. But Jesus put his hands on their shoulders and said, "Up you get! There’s nothing to be afraid of!"

And when they looked up, everything looked normal again and they saw no one there but Jesus.

As they were coming back down the mountain, Jesus swore them to secrecy, saying, “Don’t breathe a word of what you’ve seen to anyone until the Son of Humanity has been raised from the dead.”

©2002 Nathan Nettleton

cited from Laughing Bird


Image of the week

February 7, 2005

Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo
Christ Leading Peter, James, and John to the High Mountain for the Transfiguration

probably 1770/1780

The Armand Hammer Collection


original link

For last week's image (31 January, 2005), click here.


Present Context

For Reflection

When we consider the story of The Transfiguration, our focus remains on what happened at the top of the mountain, with which we are well familiar in detail, even if we wrestle with its meaning. But what of the journey up the mountain?

Did Peter, James and John go willingly and uncomplainingly with Jesus on this journey, one the artist depicts as more than a mere stroll in the woods? Was it a difficult journey? A long journey? What were they thinking about on the way there?

The process of transfiguration and transformation does not occur in a vacuum: it happens as part of the journey of discipleship, part of a larger journey of faith.

Is our reluctance to take some difficult paths, to make some difficult choices, holding us back from seeing things in a new light? Is the daunting climb too great an obstacle so that the view on the mountaintop is not even possible?

What are the challenges we continually find excuse not to pursue?

We pray:
O God, I have a fear of heights. I do not like difficult and uncharted pathways. I like to know the outcome before I have arrived at the destination. Lord, you invited Peter, James and John up the mountaintop with you, and only then were they able to see you revealed in a new light.

Help me to overcome the tendency to let excuses and aversion to new things stand in the way of seeing the full picture of Your love and grace .