The transfiguration was a significant event in the life of Christ. Jesus took His three closest disciples up on the mountain, and they witnessed him change into something seemingly surreal. His face began to shine as brightly as the sun and “His clothes became white as light.” (Matt. 17:2) The Jesus that these men have been following for a few years was no longer just telling them that He is God; He was showing them.
Suddenly, Moses and Elijah appear, and Jesus is having a conversation with them. They begin to have discussions of what’s about to happen at the cross. Can you imagine being the three disciples up on the mountain that day? Not only do you see Christ in all of His splendor and glory, but now you are seeing two of the most important people in the history of Judaism.
Peter is utterly amazed at the situation and offers to build tents for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah to stay in. He’s ready to hang out there as long as necessary. Who could blame him? You have the Messiah, the rescuer of the Jews, and one of the most important prophets standing in front of you. I’m sure we would all love to spend time with them and just listen to them talk. There are very few moments in the history of the world that would fill you up with as much awe as this one did.
As Peter was speaking, “A bright cloud overshadowed them.” (Matt. 17:5) God decided to join the party. “This is my beloved son, with whom I am well pleased: listen to him.” (Matt. 17:5) Immediately, the disciples fall to the ground in terror. They know the stories of what happens whenever someone comes face to face with God. They were afraid for their lives. As they bowed down, Jesus went over and touched them and said, “Rise, and have no fear.” The disciples looked up, and the cloud was gone. Moses and Elijah were no longer standing there. “When they lifted their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.” (Matt. 17:7)
If you have studied the transfiguration or listened to any sermons on it, then you’re probably well aware of what’s happening on that mountain and the significance of who was there. Moses represents the law of the Old Testament. The law existed as a way for the Jews to make themselves holy and blameless to God. If they followed all of it, then they would be counted as righteous. Isaiah represents the prophets, who often spoke of the coming Savior. Jesus fulfills both the law and the prophets. It is no longer the law that makes us righteous but Christ’s sacrifice. Jesus is the Savior that the prophets preached about.
I find that something is fascinating about that last sentence. When the Disciples looked up, they only saw Jesus. Can we say that about ourselves? Is our focus in our lives solely on Christ?
There is nothing else in this world that matters besides Christ and sharing His love. The transfiguration teaches us that He is the fulfillment of all things. It’s not about the law anymore. Don’t get me wrong, we are called to live holy lives but not as a way to earn salvation. We are called to live holy lives to show our salvation. The law, unfortunately, became a way for people to show off how righteous they were. That’s how the Pharisees got their power. They would very publically follow the law and demean anyone who didn’t. That’s not what Christ is about.
We are always seeing Christ associating, befriending, and loving the lowly. We often see Him with folks that society labeled as “sinners.” He ate dinner with them, crashed at their houses for the night, stood by their side in the face of oppression, and never stopped loving them no matter what. If the only things our eyes are focused on is Christ, then that’s precisely how we should be living.
The world is full of “sinners.” Ali, who I will be marrying in a little over a month, has started to become passionate about helping those who are opioid addicts. When she looks at those folks, she has compassion for them and wants to offer them help, hope, and love. These are the types of people that society has thrown to the side. I can’t help but think these are the people that Jesus would reach out to. The world is full of people who society has deemed “sinners.” If our focus is on Christ, then we need to go to these people.
I believe how we feel about the lowly and not good enough can directly relate to the condition of our hearts. We are just as much in need of a savior as these people. If you think differently, then you don’t seem to understand the brevity of your sin and the accomplishment of the cross. If Jesus wasn’t too good to go to these people, what argument do we have?
When you lift your eyes up, what do you see? Do you only see Christ? If not, then you need to rid yourself of the others. For much of my life, I lifted my eyes up and I saw Christ but standing right next to Him was my pride. They were in a constant battle for my heart. It took way too long for me to lay down my pride in favor to Christ. It still flares up from time to time, and I will battle that for the rest of my life, but the only thing I want my eyes to see is my Savior. Not even the law or the prophets can stand on even footing with the Messiah.
We should put to death anything that is stealing our focus. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus and follow Him. If we do that, then the rest will take care of itself.