Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Today we conclude the season of the Epiphany. In this season we highlight some manifestations of the divinity and power of Jesus Christ, for evidence that Jesus was not only true man, but also the true God incarnate. From the story of the star of Bethlehem and the Three Wise Men, the baptism of Jesus, the wedding of Cana until the Transfiguration. In our chronology, this is the last epiphany before the Sunday of the Resurrection.
We find parallels in this story with that of Jesus' baptism. At that time also, Almighty God the Father spoke of the heavens, saying, "This is my beloved Son. Listen to him! "
In our reading of the Old Testament (Exodus 34: 29-35), Moses' face shone after climbing Mount Sinai to speak with God and the people were frightened. So were the three disciples, Pedro, Juan and Santiago, when the cloud of light descended. They prostrated themselves on the ground in front of the glory and power of God. Today we are in the presence of the same God, but we do not see the glory of God without filters, because without filters the glory of God would be too much for us. When Moses asked God to see his glory, the Lord told him, no one can see My face and live. God allowed Moses to see His back when He passed. This partial view of the glory of God was enough to illuminate the face of Moses with reflected glory and to scare the people. So, now God is present, but reveals His presence by means: The preaching of the Word and the sacraments.
The temptation for us is to take for granted the presence of God with us. As the twelve disciples walked day by day with Jesus and saw Him as an ordinary man. But, these three, Peter and the sons of Zebedee, saw Jesus in another form and they never forgot. Thus says St. John, "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth." (John 1:14) Also, James: " Every good gift and every perfect gift comes down from above, the Father of lights, in whom there is no change, nor shadow of variation” (James 1:17)
And Saint Peter in our text for today: "Because we have not made known to you the power and the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, following invented fables; but as having seen with our own eyes His majesty. Because He received from God the Father honor and glory, when a great voice was sent to him from the magnificent glory, saying: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am content. And we heard this voice sent from heaven, when we were with Him on the holy mountain. "
Only John saw Jesus in this way in his earthly life. In the first chapter of the book of Revelation, John says he was exiled to the island of Patmos when he saw Jesus shining in the robe of the high priest.
The three received the gift of this vision before the tribulation of Holy Week. However, Peter denied Jesus three times in the courtyard of Pontius Pilate, and only John was present before the cross of Jesus. This vision of glory was not enough to sustain them at the time of the trial.
Therefore, Peter says: "We also have the surest prophetic word, which you do well to be attentive to as a lamp shining in a dark place until the day dawns, and the morning star rises in your hearts; understanding this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of private interpretation; because the prophecy did not come in time past by the will of man; but the holy men of God spoke by being led by the Holy Spirit. "
The figures of Moses and Elijah represented the entire Old Testament. Moses was the figure of the Law that we find in the first five books of the Old Testament, in which God made His covenant with Abraham and the people of Israel. Elijah represented the prophets who called the people to repentance when the Israelites turned aside from the way of the covenant. The entire Old Testament points to Christ and has its end in Christ. Jesus fulfilled all the Law of Moses and fulfilled all Messianic prophecies. For us, the source of our beliefs is not only the experiences of the apostles, but also the testimony of the prophets. God speaks in all the Scriptures, by holy men guided by the Holy Spirit.
Peter denied Jesus because at that moment he was alone, apart from the presence of Jesus and he was afraid. When we just rely on our own experience, it's easy in the valley to think the experience at the peak was a dream, an illusion. But in the Scriptures, written and inspired by the Holy Spirit, the Spirit speaks with us and helps us to remain in the faith, as the Scriptures have remained for centuries.
Peter had both types of evidence, that of his own eyes and that of the Scriptures. And he said that the surest is the written word. Only Moses climbed Mount Sinai; only the three climbed the mount of the Transfiguration. But everyone can hear the voice of God in the Law and the Gospel, in the Holy Scriptures.
Also, in each baptism, the voice of the Father speaks through the pastor. We have the body and blood of Christ in, with and under the bread and wine of the Holy Supper. The written Word and the sacraments are enough for us. We do not need other revelations, dreams and visions. In them we have the peace that surpasses all understanding. Amen.
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