Then a cloud formed, overshadowing them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is My Beloved Son – listen to Him!” And all at once they looked around and saw no one with them any more, except Jesus only. (Mark 9:7-8)
In Bible days it was one thing to see the face of God – no one ever did (see August 31), while quite another to hear the voice of God – though rare, it was not entirely uncommon. God spoke aloud to Abraham and Moses and sometime to all Israel. Though “a word from the Lord was rare in those days” (the days of the Judges – see I Samuel 3:1), God audibly spoke a great and terrible prophecy to the child Samuel. Before the birth of Jesus God whispered in the ears both of Mary and Joseph, through the lips of angels, regarding the birth of the Christ Child. Thirty years later God again spoke with His own booming voice, as everyone within distant earshot surely heard the proud boastings of a Heavenly Father over His Son at His baptism. A similarly thunderous confirmation came when Christ foretold His death. And then it happened one more time, when Jesus revealed His glory on the Mount of Transfiguration. He had taken Peter, James and John up with Him, where these four were joined by two more, the resurrected Moses and Elijah. And then something happened that had never happened before, and never since (though we are told it is coming!): The physical appearance of Jesus was transfigured into a brightness so great the men had to look away. Matthew wrote that “His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light” (17:2,3), “exceedingly white, like snow,” Mark added (9:3-4), “such as no launderer on earth can whiten them!” Even at that, this was only a tiny fraction of Christ’s former – and coming – glory! And this is the occasion spoken of in today’s Bible reading. “No man has seen God at any time,” the apostle John later wrote, “but the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, has revealed Him” (John 1:18). (Did you doubt the deity of Christ? Doubt no longer!) Peter, not knowing what to think of it all, still was not at a loss for words. Without thinking, without praying (two dangerous “withouts” for all of us!) he suggested they build some shelters for Moses, Elijah and Jesus – putting the three on an equal plane. That’s when the lights went out, and the thunder roared, for God fairly shouted from heaven, right into foolish Peter’s ears, “This is My Beloved Son, look at HIM, listen to HIM. Don’t let men, good men – even great men of old – take your eyes off of HIM!” And to make sure Peter and his buddies got the point, God whisked the saints back to heaven, leaving Jesus only. Who will God need to remove from your attention, from your life, in order to get your eyes back where they belong? Don’t make Him say it again: It’s got to be JESUS ONLY!
Bits & Pieces from Japan
7 years ago