October 14, 2021
Scripture: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were terrified. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and have no fear.” Matthew 17:5b-7 ESV
Observation: The Transfiguration captures my imagination. Jesus invited Peter, James, and John to witness this pinnacle event that prepared the Son to press on to his cross. I can picture how I might feel and respond if I were to hear the Father’s booming voice command me to listen to (obey) his Son. If I were not already intimidated by the sight of the glorified bodies of Moses and Elijah and Jesus’ transfigured body that was brighter than the purest white, I too would have fallen on my face in terror at the sound of the Creator of the universe’s voice. In ancient times, prostrating yourself was a sign of humility and submission—an appropriate response when in the presence of the Holy One. Yet, the Son, who cocreated all life forms, compassionately extends his hand and touches his disciples and commands them to “rise, and have no fear.”
Takeaway: This time, there is no admonishment for lack of faith (as he often did when they demonstrated fear in the face of danger). Why? Because they witnessed the glorified Son and heard the commanding voice of the omnipotent Father. Theirs was an initial response of godly fear. But the moment was over; it was time to rise and be fearless. Just as their Master would press on to fulfill his mission, so must his disciples. And it is no different for us. When we experience those sacred encounters with our Maker, when he speaks to our consciences, once we have caught our breath, we need to rise and fearlessly take the next step knowing that the Power of the universe is leading us.
Prayer: Father God, please grow our faith and trust in you, that when we sense your Holy Spirit’s leading that we would compose ourselves and courageously rise, follow, and have no fear. Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling