Christ Transfigures the Disfigured
I am sure that all of us have seen pictures that depict someone "before" and "after." A man goes on a diet; before the diet he is a very large 325 pounds but after the diet he is a slim, trim 175 pounds. In a significant way he has become transformed into a healthier individual since, before he lost the weight, his additional weight would have been a burden to him; but now his body has been transfigured into the physical figure of the person that God had intended his frame to be.
The end was drawing near for Jesus and, before His death on the cross, Jesus wanted to spend some special time with Peter, James and John...so He led them to the top of a high mountain. It would have been a long, hot, dusty, sweaty climb to the top; yet, when they got there, it would have offered a spectacular view of the world below.
While He was praying, His face shone like the sun; His clothes flashed like lightning; and He was joined by Moses and Elijah, the two great prophets of the Old Testament people of God. For that brief period, Jesus was seen in all His power and glory.
Peter is so excited at what is taking place that he decides that he wants to stay there for a while. He was "living the dream" of every Israelite...to be on the mountaintop with the Messiah, Moses and Elijah...so let's just tabernacle up here and forget the world below.
Yet Jesus stays just long enough for these three disciples to be confirmed in their faith and then He leads them down into the valley. Immediately Jesus is confronted with a boy who has been disfigured by the marks of his demon-possession...for whenever he became possessed by the demon, he would roll in the fire. Jesus, in His compassion and mercy for the boy, delivers him from his possession and transfigures his life.
Our God is a missionary God. Jesus, on that mountaintop, was strengthened for His mission by His visit from, and conversation with, Moses and Elijah. The Law must be fulfilled; His blood must be shed. He must travel to the mountaintop of Calvary and give His life on the cross so that everything would be fulfilled to accomplish our salvation.
God has a mission for our lives and it is to make this Good News known in the lives of others. He wants us to gather weekly at our unique "mountaintop" locations so that we might be with Him and be fed by His Word and Sacraments; and then He wants us to go out into a world that is disfigured by sin...to be, and to live as, a people who have been healed by the transfiguring power of the Gospel and the Holy Spirit.
One of the great privileges we have as His forgiven people is to forgive others when they have disfigured our lives with their words and actions; and to be forgiven by others when we have disfigured their lives. May the Lord richly bless your ministry of bringing, and making known, the transfiguring power of the Gospel as you forgive; and may you experience that same blessing as the Father, and others, forgive you.