The Face of Jesus Christ Manifests the Light of the Knowledge of the Glory of God
It was “a hard thing” that Elisha asked, but by his persistence he was able to see the Prophet Elijah being taken “by a whirlwind into heaven.” Although “chariots of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them,” Elisha received Elijah’s cloak and a “double portion” of his spirit for preaching the Lord’s Word (2 Kings 2:9–11). It was a hard thing, too, for Israel to see Moses and come near to him, when “the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God” (Ex. 34:29–30). Therefore, after “he commanded them all that the Lord had spoken with him in Mount Sinai,” Moses “put a veil over his face” (Ex. 34:32–33). Only the Word of the Gospel lifts the veil, and “only through Christ is it taken away” (2 Cor. 3:14). Thus are we able to behold “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ,” who is “the image of God” (2 Cor. 4:4–6). For the Law and the Prophets are all fulfilled in Him. Therefore, “listen to Him,” and fix your sights on “Jesus only” (Mark 9:7–8).
Collect for the Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord—O God, in the glorious transfiguration of Your beloved Son You confirmed the mysteries of the faith by the testimony of Moses and Elijah. In the voice that came from the bright cloud You wonderfully foreshowed our adoption by grace. Mercifully make us co-heirs with the King in His glory and bring us to the fullness of our inheritance in heaven; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Prayer before worship: O Lord, our creator, redeemer, and comforter, as we come together to worship You in spirit and in truth, we humbly pray that You would open our hearts to the preaching of Your Word so that we may repent of our sins, believe in Jesus Christ as our only Savior, and grow in grace and holiness. Hear us for His sake.
Prayer after worship: Almighty and merciful God, we have again worshiped in Your presence and received both forgiveness for our many sins and the assurance of Your love in Jesus Christ. We thank You for this undeserved grace and ask You to keep us in faith until we inherit eternal salvation; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord,
Prayers for those who are married: O Lord God, at the creation of Adam and Eve You instituted and blessed marriage as the union of a man and woman and commanded that it be held in honor by all. Grant Your blessings to all married couples (especially [names]) that their life together may be blessed with wisdom, purity, self-sacrifice, and love; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord,
Most gracious God, we give thanks for the joy and blessings that You grant to husbands and wives. Assist them always by Your grace that with true fidelity and steadfast love they may honor and keep their marriage vows, grow in love toward You and for each other, and come at last to the eternal joys that You have promised; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord,
Prayer for home and family: Visit, O Lord, the homes in which Your people dwell, and keep all harm and danger far from them. Grant that we may dwell together in peace under the protection of Your holy angels, sharing eternally in Your blessings; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord,
Monday, 13 February 2012—Psalm 112:1, 3, 7–9; antiphon, Psalm 112:4—Psalm 112 speaks of the blessedness of the man who fears the LORD. This psalm is a complement to the preceding psalm, which tells of the blessings, physical and spiritual, which God bestows upon us. Those who trust in Him—who fear the LORD—show their gratefulness to Him by their lives, which are conformed to His will. The one who trust in the Lord greatly delights in His commandments.
Tuesday, 14 February 2012—Psalm 50:1–6—The opening line of Sunday’s psalm heaps up divine titles: Mighty One, God, the LORD. This psalm was used in the temple liturgy, where the singers of it acknowledge that they will worship only the one, true God. Even the earth and the heavens declare His righteousness.
Wednesday, 15 February 2012—2 Kings 2:1–12—Elijah was one of the greatest of the prophets of God, remaining faithful and proclaiming God’s Word even when nearly all of Israel had apostatized. He is one of only two people in Scripture who didn’t die; rather, God took him—in a fiery chariot. The last verses of the Old Testament, Malachi 4:5-6, prophesy that Elijah would appear before the coming of the Messiah. Jesus said that John the Baptist fulfilled this prophecy (Matt. 11:14); later, Elijah appeared with Jesus at His transfiguration.
Thursday, 16 February 2012—2 Corinthians 3:12–13; 4:1–6—When Moses came down from Mt. Sinai, from speaking with the Lord, the children of Israel were afraid to look upon him, because his face shone from being in the presence of God. They made Moses wear a veil over his face. (Exodus 34:29-35) As this veil concealed from the Israelites the transient character of the old covenant and its orders, so now when the Law (Moses) is read they cannot see the real significance of the Law as witness, together with the prophets, to the newly revealed righteousness of God in the Gospel. But, when we are brought to faith in Christ, the veil is removed, and we recognize that Christ is the fulfillment of the Law.
Friday, 17 February 2012—Mark 9:2–9—Three of the disciples—Peter, James, and John—were privileged to go up on a mountain with Christ, as He was transfigured before them. That is, His glory as the Son of God, normally masked by His humanity, was clearly shown. Elijah and Moses appear with Him, and they discuss His impending death (Luke 9:31). Peter, James, and John are witnesses of the glory which awaits Christ beyond the cross.
Saturday, 18 February 2012—The Hymn of the Day, O Wondrous Type! O Vision Fair (LSB 413), recounts the story of the Transfiguration, and reminds us that Christ continues to manifest His glory to-day through the ministrations of the Church.
This week’s Time in the Word is written by The Revd Jeffrey M. Keuning, Pastor
Lectionary summary on the front page from the LCMS Commission on Worship
Artwork by Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld, © WELS
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House