The apostle Peter provides a good example of how easily
people of faith miss the point. We sometimes get so caught
up in the pageantry and excitement that we lose sight of the
significance of the moment. Weddings are a fine example of
this. Blessing the union of a couple’s love can easily get lost in
the costumes, the decorations, the stage directions, the music,
and the emotions. Many couples spend much more time (and
money) planning the reception than they do the service.
Were the Transfiguration story to take place today, I can
almost hear Peter burst into modern marketing jargon. “We
gotta set up booths! One for Moses, one for Elijah, and one for
you! People will come from all over just to see where you three
got together. We can sell programs. We can sell T-shirts, coffee
mugs, refrigerator magnets, and bobble-heads! We need a logo!
We need to brand this!” Peter wants to spread the miracle and
share the awe, but why did Jesus want Peter, James, and John
to witness this event?
We have no idea what Elijah, Moses, and Jesus talked
about. But the three disciples witness the Law, the Prophets, and
the Word combined and connected. They hear the voice of God
confirming Jesus as the beloved Son. In the hard days to come,
these three pillars of the early church will possess an indelible
and unforgettable assurance of Jesus as the Son of God.
Jesus often instructed the disciples not to go overboard
with stories of miracles and supernatural power. True faith stays
strong in the absence of miracles, not just in their presence. The
truth of Jesus the Christ is valid in the quiet and calm times, not
just when the miracles take place.
Help us to walk by faith and not by sight, O Lord. Teach us to trust you, merciful God, so that when miracles occur, they don’t surprise us but in fact reinforce what we already know. Amen.
Faith in God and deliverance by God are themes that dominate these scriptures. Abraham casts aside all baser loyalties and in daring fashion entrusts life and well- being to God’s care. Abraham follows God’s initiatives into new realms of loyalty and purpose. Paul reminds us that while Abraham models good works, his righteousness results from his faith. Nicodemus models an Abraham who has yet to leave Ur of the Chaldees. Nicodemus’s comprehension of God’s initiatives is shallow and sterile. The psalm for this day greets with joy God’s invitation to renewal.
• Read Genesis 12:1-4a. How is God calling you to leave behind the familiar for some new opportunity?
• Read Psalm 121. What aspect of this psalm draws your attention? What offers you comfort and hope? To whom do you turn for help?
• Read Romans 4:1-5, 13-17. What distinction do you draw between your doing great things for God and God’s doing great things through you?
• Read John 3:1-17. What experience does the phrase born again bring to your mind? Does it foster positive notions? In what ways do you evidence your baptism in the Spirit?
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