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Matthew 16:24—17:8, Transfiguration

Narrative Lectionary Key Verse for Today

Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves.
— Matthew 17:1

NL Daily Devotion for Sunday, March 3 2019

by Dr. Kimberly Leetch, Clergy Stuff

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Main Idea: Faith can grow with and without life- changing faith events.

The transfiguration story raises more questions than it provides answers. Why be transfigured in this way? What does it mean? Was Jesus transfigured for himself or for the disciples? Why now? What were Jesus, Moses, and Elijah talking about? Why did Peter want to make dwellings for them? And, of course, this: Jesus changed before their eyes and they saw two dead prophets, and it wasn’t until they heard a voice that they fell to the ground in fear?

Let’s look at the story through the eyes of the disciples. Jesus had recently asked them who the people were saying Jesus was. The disciples answered that people thought he was John the Baptist, Elijah, or one of the prophets. It was certainly a question being tossed around everywhere Jesus went. On the mountain, Jesus answered their question without even answering. Jesus stood in the company of the two greatest prophets of Israel’s history—Moses and Elijah. If this didn’t indicate that Jesus was at least as important as the prophets, then nothing would. And yet, this great prophet didn’t forget the people he came to touch—he literally touched them and calmed their fears.

The whole event was quite a spectacle. Blinding lights, visions, a voice from heaven. It’s the kind of experience that changes you. From this day forward, Peter, James, and John would only be able to see Jesus through the eyes of people who had witnessed the miraculous event. It raises the question, did they continue to follow Jesus with more confidence in what they were doing, or with more fear of the man who could walk with dead prophets? Maybe it was both. Regardless, there was still more work to be done, and they continued to travel, teach, heal, and perform miracles alongside their master. They also ate, slept, and worked alongside the disciples that did not experience what they did.

Some people have the luxury of having “mountaintop” experiences—events that change them and their faith. Others grow in faith without those life-changing experiences. Does it make a difference? Perhaps not.

People can grow in faith with or without “aha” faith- changing moments.