Journey to the cross (part 2)
Holy Trinity Huddersfield, 12th March 2017
An observation from memory
Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He did not know what to say, for they were terrified. Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!” Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus.
As they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them to tell no one about what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead. So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what this rising from the dead could mean. Then they asked him, “Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” He said to them, “Elijah is indeed coming first to restore all things. How then is it written about the Son of Man, that he is to go through many sufferings and be treated with contempt? But I tell you that Elijah has come, and they did to him whatever they pleased, as it is written about him.” Mark 2:2-13 NRSV
The blog is about wonder, but the sermon it is based on was preached on what would have been my mother’s birthday, the first one since she died last year. My mind wandered. What we have are my impression of the bit I can remember.
Jesus goes up a mountain. What happened next will amaze you.
Today’s reading followed on from last week’s. Peter had finally twigged that Jesus was the Messiah and Jesus had told the disciples what being a Messiah meant: To the disciple’s dismay that meant Jesus’ death.
Within a week Jesus, and the inner triumvirate of Peter, James and John were off up a mountain. It is like one of those internet clickbait memes, only what happened next really was amazing. Put yourself in Peter, James and John’s sandals. You have been walking around with Jesus for the best part of three years. Jesus is the leader of the group but also part of the group. Jesus is their friend, who has now become awesome, literally. Not only has Jesus become glowing white, very white, but whiter than they can describe. Whiter than a very white thing. Overcome in seeing their friend displaying the glory of God, and two long dead heroes of their Jewish religion with him, they start to talk rubbish.
We too can lose sight of the glory of God in Jesus. We, in evangelical circles, often talk about the closeness and friendship of Jesus. Intimacy with Jesus is rightly encouraged. But we must not lose sight of how awesome, incredible and other God is. Awesomeness and intimacy is a difficult balance to get right.