Reading for Tuesday, July 3: Matthew 17
The Transfiguration is intended to increase faith. It’s a foreshadowing of Christ’s glory to come when all is fulfilled — when He fulfills the Law and the Prophets through His supreme act of loving God and loving others. But the disciples struggle with understanding it’s full import. Peter stands amazed, yet he asks to build three tabernacles in an attempt to contain this glory, to soak in it for a while. But that doesn’t seem to be the nature of God’s glory, at least not in Scripture. It’s a fleeting thing, for our sake. We’re capable of witnessing it only in small doses. And so the voice of God drives them to fall prostrate. But when they open their eyes — at the touch of Jesus (v7-8) — the Transfiguring moment has passed.
But I would argue that what was intended to increase their faith will take some time. On their way down the mountain, Jesus tells them not to share the news of this with anyone until His resurrection. But the disciples want to fixate on Elijah — is he coming back? What was that all about? The cat is right there, out of the bag, and they miss it. So a little bit later (v22), he says it again, very clearly: “The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him, and he will be raised on nthe third day.” (v22-23). But Peter gets caught up in a debate about taxes; the disciples fail to heal a young demon-possessed boy. And Jesus sees the chief problem as a matter of faith.
I wonder what He’d say about my faith.
Or lack thereof.