Listen to Jesus

“Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became bright as light.” Matthew 17:1-2

The first time I preached on the Transfiguration of Jesus, I used an illustration of how certain moments in our lives are life changing. For one woman, the rest of the message was a blur. After the worship service, she told me it was the 40th anniversary of the day, she learned her husband died on the battlefield . . . A moment that would forever change her life.

When Jesus invited Peter, James and John to go with him on the mountain to pray, they were not expecting a holy and transcendent experience. Their memory of that time on the mountain was a defining moment. An experience so profound and mystical they grappled for words to describe it . . . Dazzling, light like the sun, white as light, shining, with a brightness no bleach could match.  They heard a voice say, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” Matthew 17:5    Peter, James and John could never quite look at Jesus, as they did before. Seeing Jesus, beloved by God, radiant with the light of God’s face shining on him, was to see the distance between heaven and Earth lifted. Both terrified and filled with awe, they fell on their knees in worship.

One doesn’t plan transcendent moments, though one can hope for those touches of divine love. Holy moments, mystical moments most often surprise us. Touches of God’s grace come as affirmation, direction, encouragement and confirmation. Jesus would experience all of that on the mountain, as he prepared for Jerusalem and what he would face in the future. He would hear encouraging words of his belovedness.

Jesus’ disciples would later witness to the moment itself. They would remember the voice saying, “Listen to him.”  We continue to be left with that challenge of“Listening to Jesus.” What a world we could live in, if all of us who claim the name of Jesus, were to do so.

11 thoughts on “Listen to Jesus

  1. When we receive life-changing news or experiences, everything else around it is a blur. Recently movie directors have been portraying such moments with other voices sounding as though they’re coming from far away or from inside a garbage can – very effective. I suspect we can all relate. After that, everything looks different, as you describe with the three disciples. And later, seeing the risen Christ changed ALL of them from timid fugitives to bold evangelists, proclaiming, “He is risen!” for the rest of their lives.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a wonderful reflection, Shirley! Combining the stark reality of the death notification the woman in your church received and how her life stopped with the life-altering experience Peter, James, and John experienced along with Jesus touched me. Having been a part of the team who delivers that news I could imagine how time stopped… thank you for offering this message of hope and the call to listen in the midst of it all.

    Liked by 1 person

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