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Posts Tagged ‘transfiguration’

There’s not much glory in being the sidekick, particularly if the person is true to his/her mission.

A man named John was sent from God. He came as a witness to testify concerning the light, so that through him everyone would believe in the light. He himself wasn’t the light, but his mission was to testify concerning the light. The true light that shines on all people was coming into the world. The light was in the world, and the world came into being through the light, but the world didn’t recognize the light. [John 1:6-10, CEB]

It’s an interesting story, this tale of John the Baptist, who made such a huge splash (pun intended) in Judea, living on the fringe of society, prophesying endlessly, drawing colossal crowds, and calling on the people to ceremonially cleanse themselves in preparation for the coming of the long-awaited Messiah. He was all fire and determination. But he was also a catalyst.

John did not ride with Jesus and yet he was one of the key disciples. John moved things along. He challenged the norm; he challenged Jesus himself. (See Matthew 14.) John instigated the situation with Herod and knew that condemning a leader’s actions would get him put into jail. He was no fool. But he also knew he had to step away from the limelight in order for Jesus to take the reins of that moment in history.

Up until then, Jesus was doing a lot of teaching along with a few miracles and he built his team of twelve and even sent them out to try their hands at ministry, but he hadn’t really inflamed the leadership. But after John was in prison and eventually beheaded, Jesus began manifesting a series of fantastic unexplainable miracles from feeding thousands of people to walking on water and even transcending our three-dimensional world on Mount Tabor during his “transfiguration.” He stepped up his game.

John was the sidekick who was willing to sacrifice everything for the mission of Jesus. John the Baptist had been in the limelight and turned that light toward his cousin Jesus.

In our modern world, people are not always as willing to step aside or step down for the sake of the friend or partner or colleague.

I complain so often that my young adult children still believe the world revolves them. But perhaps I am no better. Can I learn from John and say, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” [John 1:29b, NIV]

Turn your eyes and look with me this day.

Advent: Day five.

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 mouth in motionMeanwhile, Peter and those with him were slumped over in sleep. When they came to, rubbing their eyes, they saw Jesus in his glory and the two men standing with him. When Moses and Elijah had left, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, this is a great moment! Let’s build three memorials: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He blurted this out without thinking. [Luke 9:32-33, The Message]

Oh that Peter, a man after my own heart . . . er, verbal mistakes. It’s all about the enthusiasm, I know. Believe me, I know. If I get excited about an idea, I can’t wait to blurt it out. And of course, I speak with such authority! No wonder people are put off. But how do I explain it? I get a picture in my head and without analyzing what that picture might mean or the ramifications of actually implementing this picture, I share it.

Of course, I know right away when I’ve blown it. Either the people around me have a glazed look in their eyes or they look down at the table at a meeting. Bad idea, I get it. Bad idea.

If only this would be enough and I would stop. But once my mouth is in motion, I keep at it, trying to figure it out as I go, trying to massage the idea as it comes barreling forth, trying to fix what I said or add enough details that might salvage the moment. Instead, I manage to dig a deeper hole. Been there done that . . . a million times.

But Jesus was not engaged with his human friends at that point, he was transfigured (perhaps that body was more like the one people saw after his resurrection, who knows). And in that state of transfiguration, Jesus was not of this world, but transcending dimensions (something no less miraculous than feeding 5,000 and raising the dead). The source was the same: God. And really, who knows who those other two “figures” were or if their presence was relevant to what Peter and John saw. We’ll never know for sure.

And why did Jesus bring Peter and John along at all? It’s not like Jesus hadn’t gone off alone many, many times before that. He wanted them to witness the transfiguration. Why?

This weekend, I’ll be teaching at the Sunday evening Launch service on silence. Just another paradox in God’s economy. 🙂

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Here it is: God takes the most lowly and insignificant thing/person and breaks apart the norm, the traditional, the comfort zones, and the “interpreted now.” He takes “what is not” and creates something new: from nothing–something.

I Corinthians 1:28
He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, . . .

There is a wonderful show on the History channel about the Shroud of Turn called the Real Face of Jesus. I recommend it. A scientific study has been going on for the last several years and only now are these results being made public. In the end, they still have no idea HOW the image manifested on the shroud. One theory is that it was created by a tremendous release of energy or light. Not too surprising for a believer to accept, more difficult for a team of scientists. They are faced with the power of “what was not” becoming something.

Healings are the same thing: bringing into our world something that was not: healthy body parts and organs.

This is all miracle stuff and the point is? Only God can make these things happen. Here’s our job, those called as witnesses, we are simply to look and acknowledge those moments when “what is not” is replaced by “what is.”

Sometimes these are physical transformations, but they can also be spiritual and mental transformations. Ask. Confess. Wait.

“And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.” [Romans 8:11]

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Mark 15:41
In Galilee these women had followed him and cared for his needs. Many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem were also there.

If you look at the four gospels, it’s easy to compile a short list of women by name who were accompanied by “many other women.” Jesus’ mother, Mary, along with Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and Joses, Salome, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons are noted specifically. Scripture indicates these women followed him and cared for him all the way from Galilee. The beginning of this journey is recorded (not long after the story of the Transfiguration), in Luke 9:51 (As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.).

It’s 120 miles from Galilee to Jerusalem and all along the way, Jesus was teaching, preaching, and healing. The women were an integral part of this trek. I think people sometimes assign them all to the role of Martha (not Stewart, but almost) but forget about the devotion of her sister, Mary, who sat at Jesus’ feet. I am sure many of these women did the same. They were devoted to the Master.

And these are the women who stayed with Him to the very end. They did not flee. They were steadfast. This is the heritage that we as women believers must remember. This is our mantle.

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