The Transfigured Church
Luke 9: 27-29 ““Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.” About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning.”
Some have said that when Jesus said some would not taste death he was referring to the end of the world. Others that he was referring to the destruction of Jerusalem in AD70, or Pentecost. Luke along with Matthew and Mark place the transfiguration immediately after the first declaration by Jesus of his death and resurrection. Therefore, I think it is legitimate to think that ‘some’ (Peter, John and James) would not have to wait till they die to see everything, they would see the kingdom of God in this life and that is what Jesus was saying.
Peter would write about his experience later: “For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. He received honour and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.” (2 Peter 1:16-18)
‘We were eyewitness of his majesty …’ they saw the kingdom of God on the face and body of Jesus. They were enveloped by the presence of God as the Law and the Prophets surrounded the Son of Man and they hear the perfect Word of God, the Torah of love. It was here on an ordinary mountain which became sacred that they experienced the Kingdom which would sustain them through the darkest of days as they laid their lives down for Christ. Within only a few years, James would be brutally killed by Herod for preaching the gospel. But he had seen the Kingdom.
Luke says about eight days, Matthew and Mark say it was the sixth day after the announcement of his death and resurrection. It depends on how you count. So count Monday to Monday and you either have eight days or six days depending on whether you count the first and last day. Similarly the time frame between the death and resurrection of Jesus is counted as three days.
So for around 1 week there isn’t anything recorded of what was happening between Jesus and the disciples. He had told them the hallmarks of discipleship and spoke of his Passion and then nothing. So … think on that for awhile. It is good to take time to do nothing new so that what you have heard, read or experienced can shape your life.
Then comes the transfiguration!
And the disciples have stepped into the vision of Daniel:
“Thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool.
His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze. A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened… In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.” (Daniel 7:9-14)
The disciples were not seeing some sneak preview into the future state of heaven, they were seeing the uncloaking of earth’s present. This Kingdom, this light, this glory, was who they had been following but it was now uncloaked, for a while, to give them the confidence to go forward unto death. Isaiah has come to pass, “Arise, shine, for your light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.” (Isaiah 60:1)
May the Church carry the Glory of the Lord and may this Glorious Light shine brightly to every person. May we remove our apathy. Let us be less concerned about programmes than His Presence. Let us stop talking the meaningless and the trivial. Let us talk the gospel, the glory, Jesus! May the world see a transfigured Church, may they see the Kingdom of God. May all the rules and regulations and all the prophetic desires be simply found in the Son of Man, in Jesus. As we lift up Jesus, as we declare Him then may the world hear a clear call to listen and to follow Him.
How will this ever happen?
“he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray” It is the connection between the earth and heaven. Prayer.
Let your kingdom come.