Transfiguration – Encountering Jesus


A time of change. Daylight Savings Time will take effect on March 13th! Are you ready for it? We’ll all be springing forward an hour at 2 a.m. local time. So how’s that going to work for you? Will it be saving you time? You’ll have from March 13, 2022-November 6, 2022 to find out.

It’s a change of season too because beginning March 20th spring will have sprung! We’ll be wallowing in the glorious time of spring until June 21st. You gotta love that.

 When my husband and I built our house here in Texas we decided to put Bradford Pear trees in our backyard. Over the years they grew and grew into these magnificent trees that were green during the summer and white during the spring. We loved them. See how beautiful.

There’s one catch. Bradford Pears are not native to Texas. And, sadly, they are not long-lived. Although they might last between 20-25 years which seems a long time, it’s not for a tree. What happens to Bradford Pears is that over the years as they age, they become brittle and prone to breaking. It’s kinda like humans. As we age, we become prone to breaking and becoming brittle in our bones. For Bradford Pears, their breakage is due to the natural instability of their branch joints. Sounds a lot like my joints! So, you’ll typically see an entire mature Bradford Pear split right in half. That’s exactly what ours did. It was a sad day when we had to have them taken down and their roots pulled out of the ground. The life of the Bradford Pear is a real transformation. From white to green to death. Change and transition.

In our scripture, we see a time of change and transition for the disciples. We also see the divineness of Jesus. Before this Jesus’ followers had followed Him for three years believing He would overthrow the Roman Empire. Their protection, their emotional protection. And as expected after three years they became tired. Wondering where this following will lead them.

Jesus asks them, “Who do they say I am?”

The disciples answer, “They say John the Baptist.”

Jesus asks, “Who do you say that I am?”

They answer, “The Messiah.”

But then Jesus tells them of His death and resurrection and they can’t believe it. Why would they follow someone who would die? What’s the point in that? Kinda like why did my husband and I ever plant Bradford Pears knowing they’d one day die? Most likely because of the journey.

This is where the serious music starts to play. The transfiguration happens. Jesus takes Peter and James and his brother John up a high mountain. Jesus becomes transfigured right before their very eyes. His face is shining like the sun. His clothes are dazzling white. Out of nowhere appears Moses and Elijah. They’re talking with Jesus.

Peter gets pretty excited about it all. He’s thinking it’s good that they are there and conveys this to Jesus. He asks Jesus if He wants him to make three dwellings. He says that he can make one for Jesus, one for Moses, and one for Elijah. Peter hasn’t even completed his thoughts when a bright cloud overshadows them and the voice of God comes barreling out of the cloud saying, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!”

As would anyone after hearing the voice of God, Peter and the others fell to the ground scared out of their minds. Just like Jesus, He goes over to them, touches them, and says, “Get up and do not be afraid.” I can’t even count the times Jesus has said that to me—don’t be afraid. When the disciples look up the only one standing there is Jesus.

Now I don’t know about anyone else but I’d want to tell the world what I’d seen. But Jesus tells them as they’re going down the mountain, “Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”

Can you imagine how they felt as they saw Jesus transfigured, lifted up, and transformed? Would you be in awe of it all? Would you believe it or would you think you imagined it? Have you ever experienced something like that? Were you overwhelmed? Were you in awe? Did you look around and say, “WOW! There must be a God. How else did all this happen?” Miracle, right?

I wrote a book entitled Anyone Seen My Rose-colored Glasses? In that book of short stories, I write about my granddaughter, Haylie. The short story I call “Anticipating Emma.” Haylie was that child whose parents longed for her life. She wasn’t their first or even their second. She was their third. She was the one who survived. The one who has been a blessing to us all. We call her our miracle child because she wasn’t supposed to make it. I’m not sure why I always seem to be surprised by God’s plans. His never-ending love for us goes far beyond our comprehension. As the grandparents of this precious gift, my husband and I couldn’t feel God’s blessings more than when we see that beautiful little face, hear that infectious laugh, or simply wallow in the words “I love you, Poppy and Mawmaw.” This precious human being brings us so much joy. I guess you might say we were transformed the day Haylie came to be. And we still marvel at her presence these eight years later.

Do you ever feel so close to God that you just stand in awe? Do you experience a transformation?

Remember, Peter wanted to build shelters for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah. He just wanted to stay and never leave. Like a feeling of peace and security away from the concerns of the world. But mountain top experiences don’t last. Life is not lived there. Jesus shows His disciples how life is under God’s care. Jesus tells us that we must go back down in the valley.

Now if you read a little past our scripture on into verses 14-20, you’ll find this. They (the disciples) encounter this frantic dad and they don’t know what to do. The father of the kid is beside himself because the kid is having seizures and is suffering. He tells them his son falls into the fire and sometimes into the water. The disciples can’t help so the father takes his son to Jesus telling Him that the disciples couldn’t were of no use to him and his son.

The disciples can’t understand why they can’t help. Jesus says, “You unbelieving and perverse generation, how long will I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring him here to me.” Then Jesus rebukes the demon, and it comes out of him, and from that moment the boy is healed.

When the disciples approach Jesus privately and ask why they weren’t able to do what Jesus did He tells them, “Because of your little faith.” Then He tells them. “For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will tell this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

That’s what He wanted them to learn from the mountain top experience. One might want to know how do we go forward and serve after we’ve been on the mountain top. But that’s our calling. We have a glimpse of the mountain top but we live in the valley. After everything all we need to see is Jesus. Jesus shows us how to serve in the valley.

Mother Teresa in her journal wrote of her profound experience with Jesus as a teen. Although she prayed for it to happen again, it never did. In response day by day, month by month, year by year, and decade by decade she went out in the streets of Calcutta and served. She was fully aware that we don’t live on that mountain top. We live in the valley. She is quoted as saying, “We must know exactly when we say yes to God what is in that yes. Yes means ‘I surrender,’ totally, fully, without any counting the cost.”

We trust that Jesus is Lord and then we go tell all we meet about it.

And that’s what I learned in Church……see ya next time!