Transfiguration sunday. Exactly what we do with this picture of the Glory of God in Jesus is tough to talk about. Fundamentally, the image is too bright for our mortal eyes. What we can look at is the reactions of the disciples in contrast to the reactions of other people who have glimpsed the glory, primarily those healed like the leper or the deaf man in Mark’s gospel. Those two can’t keep the joy and the word in. Jesus tells them to be quiet, but they run and tell everyone, and there is no crackdown.
The Disciples don’t do that. They do three things. 1) They equate Jesus the messiah with Elijah and Moses – just another teacher, and they want to build an institution around them. Let’s build three tents. When God works in his glory we often want to domesticate it. We are scared of God working so we try and put Him in a box. The world and the church is full of sad empty boxes where God used to work. 2) They react out of fear. The text says they were terrified. The leper and the deaf man come to Jesus, unafraid or at least uncommented. Jesus drags the disciples up the mountian, and they cower. This view of the glory before calvary was for their reassurance, but run in fear. Fear is the power of the law. In Jesus God is doing a new thing. Fear is not called for. 3) They keep the word to themselves. They have just glimpsed the glory of God. Would this not have been something to share? If they had been healed like the leper, if they had been under the gospel, they would have told everyone.
Don’t build institutions, but follow Jesus where the Spirit wills. Don’t cower in fear. The law has no claim on you in Jesus Christ. And please, pass the Word on to those still in cowering. Under the Gospel we are freed from fear. The little kids know it best. Jesus loves me this I know. Hide it under a bushel – no! I gonna let it shine!