BIBLE INSIGHTS in 500 words*
Listen Up: God is Speaking
Richard Leslie Parrott, Ph.D.
Jesus was transfigured and we saw the meeting place of heaven and earth. As Jacob saw the meeting of heaven and earth as a stairway to heaven (Genesis 28:12); in Jesus we see the Angels ascending and descending (John 1:51). Heaven and earth meet in him. In this place, two figures from Israel’s past appear: Moses and Elijah.
The Gospel of Matthew particularly highlights the parallels between Jesus and Moses. Moses led God’s people out of Egypt and to the mount of God, Mount Sinai. There he received the law that would guide God’s people in fulfilling their calling to be “a Kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exodus 19:6).
The Israelites broke the law in a most notorious fashion with crude behavior and pagan celebrations around a golden calf – a reminder of Egypt. Moses again went up the mountain to pray and beg for God’s mercy for the people.
Toward the end of his life, God promised to send the people a prophet like Moses. He gave them a clear command (Deuteronomy 18:15).
“You must listen to him.”
Now, as Moses once again meets God on the mountain, the great voice of heaven draws attention to Jesus and repeats the command (Matthew 17:5)
“You must listen to him.“
Listen to Jesus on the Mountains, the Mountain of Transfiguration and the Mountain of Crucifixion.
Transfiguration – Jesus is revealed in glory
Crucifixion – Jesus is revealed in shame
Transfiguration – Jesus is robed in clothes of shining white
Crucifixion – Jesus is stripped of his clothing and the soldiers are gambling for them
Transfiguration – Moses and Elijah, heroes of faith representing the law and the prophets, flank Jesus
Crucifixion – Two criminals representing Israel rebellion against God are at each side of Jesus.
Transfiguration – a bright cloud overshadows the scene
Crucifixion – darkness comes upon the land
Transfiguration – Peter blurts out how wonderful it is to be on the mountain
Crucifixion – Peter hides in shame knowing he has denied his Lord.
Transfiguration – the voice of God declares that this is his wonderful son whom he loves.
Crucifixion – a Roman soldier, astonished at his death, declares that he is the Son of God (Luke 23:47).
The Transfiguration and the Crucifixion explained one another.
- The glorious humanity of Christ is revealed at the Mount of Transfiguration.
- The glorious divinity of Christ is revealed at the Mount of Crucifixion.
Both stories surprise us. There is the startling moment of Transfiguration and the shocking moment of crucifixion. In both stories we find the same Jesus, fully human and fully divine. He reveals the glorious future for all who trust in him, authentic and perfected humanity. He displays the holy suffering of God in Christ that makes God’s future possible.
*This article is 473 words