Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate the great feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord, recalling the moment when the Lord Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, was revealed in all of His divine and heavenly glory on Mount Tabor before three of His Apostles, St. Peter, St. James and St. John. At that moment, the two greatest among the Lord’s servants from the time of the Old Testament, Moses and Elijah appeared at Mount Tabor and talked with the Lord Jesus.
This important moment of the Transfiguration is a very powerful and vivid revelation of the truth of God, in revealing before His people, albeit only the select few at first, what He was going to do to fulfil His Covenant and the promises He had made to His people throughout the ages. Through the Transfiguration, the three Apostles, as representatives of humanity, witnessed Who the Lord Jesus truly is, as a person fully God and fully Man united in His person.
At that moment, the Lord revealed a glimpse of His true heavenly glory, as the Divine Word of God, Incarnate in the flesh, fully and completely God as shown by the pure white and dazzling appearance of His Transfigured Self, while still remaining fully Man in the flesh. And through this same Person, through Jesus Christ, all of mankind were about to receive their salvation and liberation from the tyranny of sin and bondage to death.
In the Transfiguration we see in fact a prefigurement and revelation of what will happen to us all in the end, when we remain faithful and committed to the Lord, as He will glorify us and our whole existence, in the body and spirit to be glorified and exalted just as Christ has been glorified and exalted at Mount Tabor. All of us through the fulfilment of the Covenant of God have received the assurance from Him that we shall receive the fullness of God’s glorious inheritance.
Just as the Lord Jesus revealed His divinity that is united to His humanity, through the Transfiguration the Lord unites our humanity to His own humanity, and all of us who share in His humanity now receive the glory of our future existence with God. Essentially, we see in Christ the reflection of our own future glorious self, the true calling for us all mankind who have not been intended to live in sin and darkness, but in the fullness of light as God’s beloved children.
By our sins we have been made dirty, corrupted and unworthy, and sin is caused by our conscious rejection and refusal of God’s generous love. Sin has caused us to lose that glory which should have been ours from the beginning, the true nature of ourselves, and not the sinful and wicked selves we have now. But the Lord, through His Transfiguration, has shown us all that through Him, we can once again be wholesome as we have been intended to.
At the same time, through what happened in the Transfiguration, when the Lord Jesus met and talked with Moses and Elijah, the Lord also willingly revealed to His people about the mission which He has been sent into this world for, as the Saviour of all. Moses and Elijah were among two of the most important persona in the whole of the Old Testament and were counted among the ones closest to God, as His faithful servants.
Moses represented the Law which God had first revealed through him in the Books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, the collection of which made up the entirety of the Mosaic laws of Israel that were preserved through the many centuries after, centred on the Ten Commandments that God has also given at the same time. And Moses was also symbolic of God’s saving help and grace for His people, as He led His people out of Egypt from their slavery into freedom.
Meanwhile, Elijah was among the greatest of the many prophets of the Old Testament era, and he performed many good works and miracles for the Lord before His people, struggling against numerous challenges and obstacles in his prophetic ministry and journey. He proclaimed the truth of God and called the people to repent and turn away from their sins, to reject the pagan idols of Baal and other Canaanite false gods and embrace the Lord YHVH, their one and only true God.
He had to endure a lot of difficulties, on the run from his enemies that included the king and especially Jezebel the queen and many of the powerful men in the kingdom of Israel and the priesthood of Baal among many others. He had to strive alone against the four hundred and fifty priests of Baal as they contested at the Mount Carmel who the true God is, whether it was YHVH or Baal.
That these two servants of God appeared before the Lord Jesus at the moment of His Transfiguration served to reveal before us the mission of Our Lord and Saviour, Who like Moses has been sent to all of us, God’s people, to deliver us. But while the Israelites were delivered from the slavery under the Egyptians and their Pharaoh, through Christ all of us mankind have been delivered from the slavery under sin.
And like Elijah, the Lord proclaimed the salvation of God to His people, performing wonderful miracles and power to show the true extent of God’s love and mercy for His beloved people, calling on them to turn away from sin and to embrace God’s love fully, through the Law of God, first revealed through Moses and now, explained in its fullness by Christ Himself, to bring all of us closer to God.
Therefore, God has revealed before us today, through His glorious Transfiguration at Mount Tabor, what we all can become if we truly believe in Him and put our complete faith and trust in Him. He has come into this world to reveal His truth and wisdom to us, and to show us how we can find our way to reach the promised glory, true happiness and inheritance He has promised us in the Covenant He had made with us.
But we must then take note of the action of the Lord Jesus and that of His disciples in the latter part of today’s Gospel passage. The three disciples wanted to stay on in that place as it must indeed have felt so wonderful to be present in the plain view and experience of the Lord’s glory on that mountain. They wanted to make three tents for the Lord, Moses and Elijah each precisely because they wanted that blissful experience to remain with them.
However, the Lord reminded them to obey the will of God, and the Lord Jesus led them down the mountain, leaving the glorious moment of His Transfiguration and soon after, embracing the moment of His Passion, suffering and death, where He would lay down His life and perform the ultimate loving sacrifice on the Cross for our salvation. And this is a reminder to each and every one of us that we should be aware that being Christians, as followers of Our Lord, more often than not we will encounter sufferings and challenges as part of our lives.
But we must always keep up hope in the Lord, remembering that despite the challenges and sufferings we may have to endure, at the end, the ever loving and faithful God will glorify us and give us the fullness of our promised inheritance, and the Transfigured Body of Christ will also be ours as we who are worthy will be transfigured and glorified in the same way to enjoy forever God’s loving grace.
May the Lord continue to guide us on our journey and may He continue to bless us and our good works in our daily living so that each and every one of us may strive to be ever faithful despite the challenges and obstacles we may encounter in our daily living. Amen.