Donald R. Elly, M. Div.
Just as they (Moses and Elijah) were leaving him (Jesus), Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah…While (Peter) was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “ This is my Son, my Chosen (My Beloved); listen to him!”
God speaks directly to Peter, James and John. As Luke tells the story of the transfiguration, God’s voice coming out of the cloud interrupts Peter’s suggestion to Jesus. “Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings (shelters), one for Jesus, Moses and Elijah…Having stayed awake and seeing the glory of Jesus, and not knowing how to make sense of it all Peter wants to memorialize the experience and mark its occurrence.
I used to be very critical of Peter. However, as I reflected on Peter’s suggestion, I find that it is my instinct as well. Maybe if I mark the spot and make it holy that will honor God and I can go on about my business doing what I want to do. It does seem to me that we in our congregations have the same problem and tendency as Peter. What is built as a dwelling for God often becomes what we worship and we miss the message that God speaks here: “This is my son, my Beloved; listen to him.”
As we reflect on the transfiguration let’s follow God’s direction and listen to Jesus. What does that mean? Alice Camille in God’s Word is Alive put what’s happening in the transfiguration this way: “What a wake up call!…Jesus is stepping aside to pray, and Peter, James and John almost sleep through the transfiguration that is happening. They wake up just in time to see Jesus…and the greatest saints (Moses and Elijah) talking about the fulfillment in Jesus of God’s ancient promise. Isn’t this a metaphor for our lives?” Wake up and track where Jesus is highlighting God’s grace in your life?
March 3, 2019; Cycle C Transfiguration of the Lord
Exod. 34: 29-35; Ps. 99; 2 Corinthians 3:12-4:2; *Luke 9:28-36