Transfiguration Year A Exodus 24:12-18 Matthew 17:1-9
In our gospel text for today Jesus has gone up on the mountain to pray. There are so many interesting things that happen on the tops of mountains in the bible and most of the time, it has something to do with meeting God! One incident that comes to mind is when Moses went up on the mountain to talk with God. That’s in our OT lesson for today. It is on that mountain that Moses receives the Ten Commandments. It is this very mountain from which he comes down when his face is shining from his time in conversation with God; a shining face that makes people so uncomfortable that he must put a veil over its shimmer.
Another mountaintop experience is that of Elijah, one of the great prophets, perhaps considered to be one of the most significant prophets. Elijah is the super-star of prophets. He is the one who is supposed to come again to announce the coming of the Messiah. At a very difficult time in his ministry, when it seemed that the whole world had turned against him and his prophetic words from God, when the mighty Queen Jezebel has set her sights on his destruction, he runs to the mountain to hide, to find God, to just get away. And God does not disappoint. First there comes a powerful wind that splits rocks in two, but God is not in the wind. Then there is a terrible earthquake, but God is not in the earthquake. And then there is fire, but again, God is not in the fire. And then, lastly, there is the stillness. Silence. There is God.
Today, we are hearing about another mountaintop experience. Jesus goes on top of a mountain as he sometimes did to pray. He takes with him Peter, James and his brother John and leads them up this mountain by themselves. We can already tell from this first line that this probably isn’t an ordinary sermon or teaching time because those are usually with big crowds. Something different is about to happen. And, once again, God does not disappoint……