Transfiguration

The Transfiguration

The Transfiguration of Christ is one of the most significant events during his earthly life, and the church rightly celebrates it. Lutherans, Presbyterians, and Methodists celebrate it on the last Sunday before Ash Wednesday, while Catholics, Anglicans, and Orthodox churches celebrate it on August sixth. Those Orthodox churches that use the Gregorian calendar also celebrate it on August sixth, which falls on August nineteenth on the Julian calendar in general use.

Hebrew Scripture Lesson from the Former Prophets: 2 Kings 2:1-12

Now when the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven by a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here; for the Lord has sent me as far as Bethel.” But Elisha said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel. The company of prophets who were in Bethel came out to Elisha, and said to him, “Do you know that today the Lord will take your master away from you?” And he said, “Yes, I know; keep silent.”

Elijah said to him, “Elisha, stay here; for the Lord has sent me to Jericho.” But he said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they came to Jericho. The company of prophets who were at Jericho drew near to Elisha, and said to him, “Do you know that today the Lord will take your master away from you?” And he answered, “Yes, I know; be silent.”

Then Elijah said to him, “Stay here; for the Lord has sent me to the Jordan.” But he said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So the two of them went on. Fifty men of the company of prophets also went, and stood at some distance from them, as they both were standing by the Jordan. Then Elijah took his mantle and rolled it up, and struck the water; the water was parted to the one side and to the other, until the two of them crossed on dry ground.

When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me what I may do for you, before I am taken from you.” Elisha said, “Please let me inherit a double share of your spirit.” He responded, “You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it will be granted you; if not, it will not.” As they continued walking and talking, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them, and Elijah ascended in a whirlwind into heaven. Elisha kept watching and crying out, “Father, father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” But when he could no longer see him, he grasped his own clothes and tore them in two pieces.

Psalm 50:1-6

The mighty one, God the Lord,
 speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting.
Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty,
 God shines forth.

Our God comes and does not keep silence,
 before him is a devouring fire,
and a mighty tempest all around him.
He calls to the heavens above and to the earth,
 that he may judge his people:
“Gather to me my faithful ones,
 who made a covenant with me by sacrifice!”
The heavens declare his righteousness,
 for God himself is judge. Selah

New Testament Epistle Lesson: 2 Corinthians 4:3-6

And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus' sake. For it is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”¹ who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

¹Genesis 1:3

New Testament Gospel Lesson: Mark 9:2-9

The Transfiguration of Jesus

Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He did not know what to say, for they were terrified. Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!” Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus.

As they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them to tell no one about what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead.

Year B Transfiguration Sunday

Bible verses from The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All right reserved.

Selections from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, copyright 1995 by the Consultation on Common Texts.

Image credit: The Transfiguration, image by Dimitris Vetisikas, via Pixabay.com. This is a public domain image.

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Tuesday: Reflection on the Transfiguration

Job 19:23-27 I know that my Redeemer lives. In my flesh I shall see God on my side.

1 Timothy 3:14-16 Paul writes of Jesus, “He was revealed in flesh, vindicated in spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among Gentiles, believed in throughout the world, taken up in glory.”

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Monday: Reflection on the Transfiguration

Exodus 19:7-25 Moses brought the people before God on Mount Sinai. God was present in a thick cloud, and there was a very loud blast of a trumpet, and an earthquake. God sent Moses down to get Aaron.

Hebrews 2:1-4 The message declared by angels was valid. It was declared first by the Lord, and God added testimony by signs, wonders, and miracles, and we have the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

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The Transfiguration

2 Kings 2:1-12 Elisha asks Elijah for a double portion of his spirit. Elijah says that he will receive it if he sees him when he is taken. Elisha sees a chariot of fire and Elijah ascending into heaven.

2 Corinthians 4:3-6 It is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Mark 9:2-9 Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus.

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Saturday: Preparation for the Transfiguration

1 Kings 16:1-7 The word of God against Baasha: Since I exalted you out of the dust and made you leader over my people Israel, and you have walked in the way of Jeroboam, and have caused my people Israel to sin. Therefore, I will consume your house.”

Luke 19:41-44 Jesus wept over Jerusalem, because its people did not recognize the time of their visitation from God. They will be crushed to the ground, and one stone will not be left upon another.

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Friday: Preparation for the Transfiguration

1 Kings 14:1-18 Abijah son of Jeroboam fell sick. He sent his wife to Abijah, who told her that her son would die, because Jeroboam made for himself other gods, and cast images. The prophet told her that God will strike Israel and scatter them beyond the Euphrates, because they have made their sacred poles.

1 Timothy 1:12-20 The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the foremost.

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Thursday: Preparation for the Transfiguration

1 Kings 11:26-40 The prophet Ahijah found Jeroboam. Ahijah tore the new garment he was wearing into twelve pieces and said to Jeroboam: Take for yourself ten pieces; for thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, “See, I am about to tear the kingdom from the hand of Solomon, and will give you ten tribes, because he has forsaken me and worshiped Astarte, Chemosh, and Milcom.”

2 Corinthians 2:12-17 We are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life.

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Tuesday Readings: Reflection on the Readings for Transfiguration Sunday (Year A : Transfiguration)

1 Kings 19:9-18

[Elijah has traveled forty days and forty nights to Horeb the mount of God.]

At that place he came to a cave, and spent the night there.

Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He answered, “I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the Israelites have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are seeking my life, to take it away.”

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