You can see all the lectionary readings for The Transfiguration by clicking here. I have chosen to discuss the passage from the Gospel of Luke.
This Sunday is Transfiguration Sunday. It’s all about Jesus’s transfiguration—suddenly appearing amazing—glowing brightly and then being joined miraculously by Moses and Elijah—ancient forefathers of the Jewish people.
Jesus climbs a mountain with three of his disciples: Peter, James, and John. While they were watching, Jesus changed before their eyes. The Bible says, “His face became bright like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. Then two men were there, talking with him. They were Moses and Elijah.”
Peter (always quick to speech and action, not always thinking so hard about it first) said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you want, I will put three tents here—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” Peter was ready to worship the three of them right there and then. But then they heard a voice from heaven saying, “This is my Son. He is the one I have chosen. Obey him.”
In Matthew’s version of this story, Peter James, and John were freaked out at this experience (as one might expect). They fell to the ground in fear, but Jesus came and touched them and told them not to be afraid. When they looked up they saw that Jesus was alone and he told them not to tell anyone what they had seen.
In this version it just says that they didn’t tell anyone about it for a long time.
This can be a bit of a confusing lesson; there’s a lot of weird, miraculous stuff happening here, but I won’t overexplain it. A quote on the Worshiping With Children website (one of my favorites when I was teaching church school) says, “this story is meant to be savored as presented rather than to be explained.” I like that and it seems like good advice. What you mainly need to know is that Moses and Elijah are ancient fathers of the Jewish people. Maybe it would be like George Washington and Abraham Lincoln suddenly appearing in front of you (well, that’s not a 100% perfect comparison, but it might help). Just imagine! Your teacher, whom you revere but do not yet fully understand, is not only glowing, but is joined by ancient wise fathers of your people. It would be both beautiful and terrifying.
Dwell on that image today and dwell on the awesomeness of God. Meditate upon the mystery.