Lenten Reflection - Mark 9:2-13 by Benjamin Griffin
2 After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. 3 His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. 4 And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus. 5 Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” 6 (He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.) 7 Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!” 8 Suddenly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus. 9 As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus gave them orders not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead. 10 They kept the matter to themselves, discussing what “rising from the dead” meant. 11 And they asked him, “Why do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?” 12 Jesus replied, “To be sure, Elijah does come first, and restores all things. Why then is it written that the Son of Man must suffer much and be rejected? 13 But I tell you, Elijah has come, and they have done to him everything they wished, just as it is written about him.” Mark 9:2-13
There are a lot of aspects about the Transfiguration that fascinate me. Some give me deep spiritual nourishment (what a mightily poetic mystical passage!) while others leave me with more questions than I feel comfortable with (so...is John the Baptist Elijah, um, reincarnated?). But one thing that’s always struck me is how it stands as the most blunt declaration of Christ’s Divine nature. Surely, by this point in His ministry the disciples and most witnesses to His miracles should have a pretty certain idea of “who He is.” Then again, Peter not only witnessed the apparition of his faith’s two major patriarchs but heard THE voice of God and still found it him to later deny Christ out of his own fear. There’s really nothing like the behavior of the disciple’s to make us feel a little better about our own shortcomings.
But this has made me start to wonder something recently: what if Christ had chosen to simply walk around Transfigured? What if He conducted His ministry flagged by Moses and Elijah, clothed in dazzling white, promoted by the very Voice of Heaven? Do you think He would’ve won the world - that we would’ve truly listened? Or do you think maybe there’s something to this whole Kingdom in reverse approach, that even when we’re told bluntly we still need to learn to trust in our time, through our own weakness, trekking back up the hill to find the Transfiguration Light?
After all, how many of us are like Peter - witnesses time and time again to God’s Grace, Mercy, and utter Holiness, only to fearfully doubt at a later time? This Lent - this life - know that this world is bathed in Transfiguration Light, that Christ stands with prophecy fulfilled and mission completed, inviting you come by up the hill.