6 August 2023

Friends, today it is our great joy to celebrate one of the most holy days in all the Christian year: the Transfiguration of Our Lord.

Today we see the entire story of the Bible summed up in a moment of great power and beauty.

But this event in the life of Our Lord is also not easy to understand. What are we to make of Jesus seemingly ‘glowing in the dark’?

In our Gospel today, St. Luke tells us that when Jesus was transfigured, the appearance of his face became different, and his clothing became white and gleaming (Luke 9:29).

In this moment, Jesus Christ was revealed to be what He is called in the Book of Hebrews: the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature (Heb. 1:3).

In the Nicene Creed, we say: ‘I believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God’.

Jesus is fully God; and He is fully human. The eternal glory and heavenly beauty of God shines through the human face of Jesus.

This is the same glory that passed through the history of Israel in the Old Testament:

  • This glory shone from the face of Moses when he met with God on the mountain;
  • This glory dwelt in the Temple in Jerusalem, resting upon the Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant;
  • In the fulness of time, this glory entered our world to dwell here when Jesus was born and called our Emmanuel, God-with-us (Matt. 1:23).

The glory we see shining from the face of the transfigured Jesus is the very same glory that has revealed itself in the lives of His saints.

And it is a glory that can shine forth from your life too.

This is your purpose in life. This is what you must hope and strive for everyday: to see the glory of God in Jesus, so that it may be reflected in your life.

You might say, ‘How could God’s glory possibly shine forth from me? I am a sinner. I am an addict. My marriage is broken. I have lost so many loved ones that my life is clouded in darkness and grief. I am poor. My life is a mess. My faith is weak.’

I say to you, ‘Good! The very fact that you have experienced and can admit those things means that you’re the perfect candidate!’

As it says in 2 Corinthians 4:6-7, those who believe in Jesus have His light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.

There’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in. There’s no other way.

So friends, on this beautiful and glorious weekend, as you enjoy the glory of the sunshine on the land and sea, make time also for prayer, worship, Bible reading and singing, that it may be a time of transformation for you and your loved ones.

Arise, shine for your light has come. God is making you more and more like Jesus as you are changed into his glorious image. (2 Cor. 3:18).

[Image: Daniel Bonnell, Christ]



Gospel: John 20.19-23

We celebrate our Lord’s Resurrection throughout the 40 day-season of Easter; and you do so, you learn how His Resurrection changes your life by giving you a new beginning.

Our Gospel story today from John ch. 20 takes place on the evening of Easter Sunday, what John calls ‘the first day of the week’.

God created the world in 6 days and rested the 7th.

Jesus rises from the dead and appears to the disciples on the first day of a new week.

John is saying that the resurrection of Jesus is the beginning of a new creation.

The old creation – the world in the grip of death, fear, and sin – this old world has now been overcome.

It is a new beginning for the world.

It is also a new beginning for the disciples.

Just three days earlier when Jesus was crucified, the disciples had abandoned Jesus. Peter had denied Him.

Now we meet the disciples hiding in fear in a locked room.

In the beginning, after they had sinned, Adam and Eve hid themselves in shame (Gen. 3:7).

And just as the LORD came to Adam and Eve to find them, here the risen Lord Jesus comes and stands among His disciples.

The One they had abandoned and denied and thought to be dead was now back and standing right in front of them!

Imagine their shock and shame, their fear and trembling.

At first, for a moment, they must have thought that Jesus was back to punish them.

But Jesus says to them, ‘Peace be with you.’

Jesus speaks to them words of forgiveness and mercy.

And friends, Jesus says the same to you today. Whatever guilt, shame or regret you have, Jesus says, ‘Peace be with you.’

When Jesus said this, He showed them His hands and His side, the wounds from the nails of His crucifixion, to prove that it was really Him.

The disciples were glad when the saw the Lord.

Jesus, their beloved friend and leader, was alive again and did not count their sins against them (2 Cor. 5:19).

Jesus said to them again, Peace be with you.

And this time, Jesus empowers them to be sent out with a new and glorious purpose: to be His representatives in the world.

Jesus said, As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.

The disciples are to take the mercy, forgiveness and reconciliation they have received themselves – and extend that to all people for the healing of the nations (Rev. 22.2).

Friends, you are the heirs of the Apostles, and this is now your mission.

Your purpose in life is to show and tell others about the forgiveness, healing and new life offered by the risen Lord Jesus.

And Jesus gives you the power to do this.

Jesus breathed on His disciples and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’

In the beginning, God formed man from the dust of the earth and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life – and the man became a living creature (Gen. 2.7).

Here today the risen Christ, by the power of His living Word, stands in our midst and breathes His Spirit into you.

The Spirit of the risen Lord makes you a new creation: free of guilt, shame and regret; and thankful and joyful for the mercy you have received.

And with that, He sends you in the power of His Spirit to renew your home, your workplace, this church, this community, and the whole world.

Alleluia! Christusi makisimavuq! Christ is risen; and you are raised to new life and purpose with Him. Amen.

[Image: Daniel Bonnell, Resurrection]