14 February 2021
2 Kings 2:1–12 or Exodus 34:29–35
2 Corinthians 3:12–13 (14–18); 4:1–6
The Face of Jesus Christ Manifests the Light of the Knowledge of the Glory of God
Alleluia, song of gladness, Voice of joy that cannot die
Alleluia, is the anthem Ever raise by choirs on high;
In the house of God abiding That they sing eternally.
Alleluia, thou resound-est, True Jerusalem and free;
Alleluia, joyful mother, All thy children sing with thee,
But by Babylon’s sad waters, Mourning exiles now are we.
Alleluia, cannot always, Be our song while here below;
Alleluia, our transgressions, Make us for a while forgo;
For the solemn time is coming, When our tears for sin must flow.
Therefore in our hymns we pray Thee, Grant us, blessed Trinity,
At the last to keep Thine Ester, With Thy faithful saints on high;
There to Thee forever singing, Alleluia joyfully.
-Alleluia, Son of Gladness Lutheran Service Book #417
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 fullness of our inheritance in heaven.
The theme for the Transfiguration of Our Lord is The Vision Glorious. Peter, James, and John were privileged to go with our Lord onto a mountain and see Him transfigured. That is, they were given a brief glimpse of His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14). St Luke tells us that Jesus talked with Moses and Elijah about His departure (Luke 9:31), that is, His impending death, resurrection, and ascension. It is a strange concept for the natural man, his understanding clouded by sin, to see the death of Jesus as something glorious, but it is precisely at the cross that the glory of Christ is made known to us. For it is on account of this work of Christ that Moses, Elijah, and all the saints in heaven have been received into glory. This is also the eternal destiny of all who put their trust in Him and His atoning sacrifice.
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” (Exodus 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” (Exodus 34:32–33). Only the Word of the Gospel lifts the veil, and “only through Christ is it taken away” (2 Corinthians 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 Corinthians 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).
The Transfiguration of our Lord - Mark 9:2–9
Καὶ μετὰ ἡμέρας ἓξ παραλαμβάνει ὁ Ἰησοῦς τὸν Πέτρον καὶ τὸν Ἰάκωβον καὶ Ἰωάννην, καὶ ἀναφέρει αὐτοὺς εἰς ὄρος ὑψηλὸν κατ’ ἰδίαν μόνους. καὶ μετεμορφώθη ἔμπροσθεν αὐτῶν,
And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them,
καὶ τὰ ἱμάτια αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο στίλβοντα λευκὰ [c]λίαν οἷα γναφεὺς ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς οὐ δύναται οὕτως λευκᾶναι.
and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one[a] on earth could bleach them.
a. γναφεὺς Greek launderer (gnapheus)
καὶ ὤφθη αὐτοῖς Ἠλίας σὺν Μωϋσεῖ, καὶ ἦσαν συλλαλοῦντες τῷ Ἰησοῦ.
And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus.
καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ Πέτρος λέγει τῷ Ἰησοῦ• Ῥαββί, καλόν ἐστιν ἡμᾶς ὧδε εἶναι, καὶ ποιήσωμεν τρεῖς σκηνάς, σοὶ μίαν καὶ Μωϋσεῖ μίαν καὶ Ἠλίᾳ μίαν.
And Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi,[b] it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.”
b. Rabbi means my teacher, or my master
οὐ γὰρ ᾔδει τί ἀποκριθῇ, ἔκφοβοι γὰρ ἐγένοντο.
For he did not know what to say, for they were terrified.
καὶ ἐγένετο νεφέλη ἐπισκιάζουσα αὐτοῖς, καὶ [h]ἐγένετο φωνὴ ἐκ τῆς νεφέλης• Οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ υἱός μου ὁ ἀγαπητός, [i]ἀκούετε αὐτοῦ.
And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son;[c] listen to him.”
c. my Son, my (or the) Beloved
καὶ ἐξάπινα περιβλεψάμενοι οὐκέτι οὐδένα εἶδον [j]ἀλλὰ τὸν Ἰησοῦν μόνον μεθ’ ἑαυτῶν.
And suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them but Jesus only.
Καὶ καταβαινόντων αὐτῶν ἐκ τοῦ ὄρους διεστείλατο αὐτοῖς ἵνα μηδενὶ ἃ εἶδον διηγήσωνται, εἰ μὴ ὅταν ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐκ νεκρῶν ἀναστῇ.
And as they were coming down the mountain, he charged them to tell no one what they had seen, until the Son of Man had risen from the dead.
The Greek New Testament: SBL Edition. Copyright © 2010 by Society of Biblical Literature and Logos Bible Software
ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
Schnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts, ‘The Transfiguration of our Lord’ © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use
LCMS Lectionary notes © 2017
Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis