Leonid Padun: "Transfiguration"

 Transfiguration is a demonstration of God’s power

“After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light…” (Matthew 17:1-2).

Jesus Christ, who was known and seen by disciples suddenly has completely changed! His face was shining and clothes became as white as the snow. Next to Him there were Moses and Elijah, who communicated with Him, and the whole place was filled with the glory of God. The apostles were so impressed with what they saw, that could only say: “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, we will put up three shelters!” (Matthew 17:4). The Lord opened the Kingdom of God and His heaven here on earth, and experiencing the greatest joy and delight of the power and glory of God, the disciples wanted to prolong this delight at least for a while!

Fear of God

“While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified (Matthew 17:5,6).

Being on the mountain the apostles experienced not only great joy, but also fear. It would seem how it can be combined? After all, when we are afraid of something, we are in no mood for joy. But it is not just about our earthly feelings. Coming into contact with God and His power, the disciples were in the fear of God – awe, realizing the greatness and power of God.

Isaiah prophesied a long time, but when the power of the Kingdom of God touched him, he exclaimed: “Woe to me! I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips…” (Isaiah 6:5). What is this? Fear to sin and remain unclean before God. The power of God and sin are incompatible. God wants to show His power, to work miracles, but if people are living in sin, it’s just going to kill them.

The power of God or a form of godliness?

“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud … having a form of godliness but denying its power“ (2 Timothy 3:1,2,5).

You can be well informed about the Kingdom of God from the Bible, from the books, but at the same time never experience the power of God. Sometimes believers live according to the principle: “If I do not understand it, I do not need it!”, thereby denying the power of God.

But if God does not manifest Himself in our lives, in the church, it is very unlikely that we will hold on to Him.

In a godless world in which we live there are so many resources and opportunities to influence our consciousness, to take hold of our heart and cut us off from God, from His Kingdom and salvation. But those who have once experienced the power of the Kingdom of God are unlikely to believe in the godless philosophy.

No matter what happened later in the life of Peter, James and John, they continued to follow Christ and fulfilled their calling. After all that Peter has gone through, it was not hard for him to pray for the resurrection of Tabitha and work miracles. Even his shadow healed the sick!

Of course, many have the question: “Yes, but it was chosen apostles, and who am I?”. God has no partiality. Could Peter, a simple fisherman with “character”, ever imagine what would happen to him? Did he consider himself worthy? But Jesus took him and two other disciples with Him to the mountain, because He saw their open hearts.

Scripture says: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever”. The same Jesus wants to take us by the hand and lead to “the mountain of the Transfiguration”. This is not about Mount Tabor in Israel, but about the “height”, the place where God can meet us and show strength of His Kingdom, for us to be not only aware of the heavens, but have our own personal experience of God, as apostles had.

God Himself decides when to do it – at the meeting of the Church, at a conference, at the meeting of a cell group or in personal prayer. All we need is to abandon religious stereotypes and “barriers” in our mind, be open and waiting.