As [Jesus] was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning.
Luke 9:29 (NIVUK)
I like watching films that have some twists and turns in them and it can be annoying when someone spoils the dramatic conclusion. So, spoiler alert: can you imagine if we saw Bruce Willis’s widow standing by his graveside at the beginning of the film The Sixth Sense? Or 15 minutes into Star Wars Obi-Wan Kenobi told Luke Skywalker that his father is Darth Vader? Not a good ploy for filmmakers, but when it comes to real life, we desperately want to know in advance how things are going to turn out: will everything work out for my children when they grow up? Will I recover from cancer? Will the world successfully get through the COVID pandemic? What wouldn’t we give in those situations for a spoiler?
It appears that Jesus recognised that his inner group of disciples would need such a spoiler in order to keep going. He had told his disciples that he ‘must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and he must be killed…’ (Luke 9:22), and that, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it…’ (vv. 23-24). This must have been difficult for the disciples to take. The Messiah dying was not on the agenda, and neither was losing their lives for the cause. Yes, Jesus said, on the third day he will be raised to life (v. 22) and that his disciples will save their life if they lose it (v. 24), but I can imagine them thinking ‘how do we know this is all going to work out as Jesus has said?’
This is where I think Jesus helps his inner group of disciples by giving them a spoiler – a view of the end of the story in advance. All that Jesus has said is heading somewhere wonderful, so when he is transfigured before them, they are given a glimpse of the glory to come. How encouraging it must have been for those disciples to see Jesus in this way and to have that glimpse of the future glory that lies ahead.
Jesus also provides a spoiler for us. Even though we are going through a tough time at the moment, we know in advance it will work out in the end; we know the end of the story – Jesus will come again in glory, the glory revealed at the transfiguration.
Let’s all take encouragement from this.
Loving Father, throughout all our difficulties, help us to keep our eyes fixed upon the glory of Jesus. Amen.
Study by Barry Robinson
About the writer:
Barry Robinson is an Elder and part of the National Ministry Team directing Grace Communion International in the UK and Ireland.
He is also a Pastoral Worker in the south of England, particularly in the Camberwell and Central London congregations
of Grace Communion International.
Grace Communion International Camberwell
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