You can see all the lectionary readings for the Last Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B by clicking here. I have chosen to discuss the passage from the Gospel of Mark.
This Sunday is Transfiguration Sunday—it’s all about Jesus’s transfiguration—suddenly appearing sort of more than human—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, “Jesus was changed.His clothes became shining white—whiter than anyone on earth could make them. Then two men were there talking with Jesus. They were Elijah and Moses.”
Peter (always quick to speech and action, not always thinking so hard about it first) said to Jesus, “Teacher, it is good that we are here. We 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, the one I love. Obey him!”
Imagine how surprised they were at all this. When they looked again, they saw that Jesus was alone. As they went down the mountain, Jesus told them not to tell anyone what they saw until “after the Son of Man rises from death.”
There’s a lot of weird, miraculous stuff happening here, but I won’t attempt to explain it much. A quote on the Worshiping With Children website says, “this story is meant to be savored as presented rather than to be explained.” I like that and it seems like good advice. The most I can say is imagine if George Washington and Abraham Lincoln suddenly appearing in front of you (well, that’s not a 100% perfect comparison, but it might help) and your friend and teacher was glowing from within in a miraculous way. How would you react? How would you think God was at work?
Continuing the theme of Epiphany, this passage highlights the authority and unique preeminence of Jesus. Mark wants us to know Jesus is not like other teachers. And the same voice that called out at his baptism calls out again to single him out as the Son of God.