Readings for the Transfiguration of Our Lord
Mark 9:2-9; 2 Corinthians 3:12-13; 4:1-6; Exodus 34:29-35
“Pastor, why couldn’t they see it?” When Christians encounter unbelief – whether it’s in the Bible or happening today – we struggle to make sense of how a gospel that is so beautifully clear and true to us could not also be clear to everyone.
The readings for Sunday speak to God’s glory as revealed in the face of Jesus Christ. But in doing so, they also speak to the various kinds of “veils” that still cloud peoples’ spiritual vision and prevent them from seeing Jesus for who he is – the Son of God and Savior of the world. Understanding the nature of these veils is important not only for ourselves (lest we become blind!) but for our witness to those still living in darkness.
The disciples in our Gospel lesson see but do not comprehend the glory of Jesus because of their assumptions about pain and rejection. Surely these could not be a part of the Savior’s plan! (Mk 9)
In the Epistle lesson Paul does not waver from preaching Christ as the only Savior from sin. Those who prefer a “be a good person” religion based on self-help spirituality will find this message insultingly simple. Satan wants me to think I belong at the center of everything. Only the Holy Spirit is strong enough to remove this veil (2 Cor 4).
The Old Testament lesson records how Moses used to wear a literal veil after conversing with the LORD. Jesus is the new and greater Moses whose glory needs no covering (Ex 34).