For truth to be real, it first needs to be spoken. Then it needs to be demonstrated through action, or in this case, revelation. We are at a serious juncture of the Gospel of Mark and we are to the end of the Season of Epiphany with one more revelation of monumental proportions.
The Gospel lesson for this Sunday is about the Transfiguration of Jesus (Mark 9.2-9). Personally I would go so far as to include the walk back down the mountain and right smack dab into the middle of controversy over the boy with the demon the disciples could not overcome.
This part of Mark needs to be expanded if we are going to read it for all that is worth. So we need to go back to the city of Capernaum and to Peter confessing that the disciples believe that Jesus is the Christ – the Anointed One. The disciples believed that Jesus was send from God and that he was the Messiah. But they also had ideas of how Jesus was going to be Messiah and King. Ideas that did not coincide with what Jesus was teaching. So when Jesus told them that he was about to die in Jerusalem, Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him fiercely. Jesus in turn, told him to get back in line behind him or get out of the way. Six days after all this Jesus took Peter, James and John up the mountain and there, Jesus was transfigured before them, and the disciples saw Jesus as he really is.
Jesus literally changed. The change was not a soft glow or a low light. It was as bright as anything those men had ever seen. Jesus actually changed his form and he radiated pure light. Then he spoke to Elijah the Prophet and Moses, the law giver. And what do they talk about: Jesus’ Exodus; his departure for home. They talked about the realities of what was ahead in the crucifixion, death and burial, and about his resurrection and ascension.
What I find amazing is that the disciples still didn't get it. They wanted to hold on to and hoard the moment for themselves through tenting up and staying on that blessed mountain top. They wanted to remain there and never let things go forward. They wanted to do this in favour of life back down in the valley where they had to That’s why I believe they still did not get it. Here they are in a small outcrop on a large mountain and very near the top. They are high enough that they encounter a cloud and they are spoken to from out of the cloud by the Father – the same Father who spoke at Jesus’ baptism. The Father reaffirmed his relationship and devotion to his son and commanded the disciples to “Listen to him.”
Faith comes to us through God’s revelation of himself to us. We need to see and know that God desires to give Himself to us through Christ – and he is smiling and laughing about it!
The truth found me in a little Anglican Church about four and a half hours from where I currently live and the Truth found me about 33 years ago. I discovered that God loved me and that has made all the difference. There is a plain truth about God that abides in the person and life of Jesus. But I have come to realize that Jesus is who he said he is and what we need to do about is not always plain and evident to everybody- responses to that are going to vary from person to person. Even those of us who are experienced in the faith find that they are lost and wayward from time to time. And please note, that I did not call it simple either. After all, the plural of disciple is not disciples, but Church. Faith is worked out and lived into within community. Truth belongs not to the individual disciple but rather to the community to which that believer belongs and in which the believer lives. So let us together proclaim him who is the Way, the Truth and the Life that others might see him and come to follow alongside him.