“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” Martin Luther King Jr.
When our son was only a few years old, we visited the Mammoth Cave in Kentucky. Deep within the cave, the guide extinguished all artificial light. Even though I was holding my son, I could not see him. I thought, “Deep darkness is scary. In a sense, this is what Matthew was writing about as he said, “This people living in darkness have seen a great light” (Matthew 4:16).
The last thing you want is for the devil to sneak up behind you and start using your vocal chords. That’s what happened to Peter. After Peter makes the greatest confession in the history of Israel, he yields the right of way to the devil and rebukes God. Fortunately, Jesus the ultimate motivator leads Peter, James and John on their first pilgrimage. Peter, singing the lead, offers his version of Jesus’ recent homily, “This Little Light of Mine.” John joins in along with James. By the time they get to the top of Tabor, Jesus turns to them and says, “Are you guys ready to see some real light?”
What happened next made the Gospel trio think of what happened to Moses when he received the law. Unlike Moses, who experienced God as a thick darkness (Deuteronomy 4:11), Jesus gives off light. In fact, “His face shown like the sun.” John would later write, “He is the light which shines in the darkness and which the darkness cannot overcome (John 1:5).
Soon they would see similarities between Mount Golgotha and Mount Tabor. Their crucified Lord hanging between two thieves preparing to offer Himself for the sins of the world. Today, Jesus standing side by side with Elijah and Moses, like living icons, teaching the disciples about future glory. This day also would remind them of the Garden of Gethsemane, when Jesus’ glory flashed upon the Roman soldiers. Like the disciples, they had no choice but to fall to the ground.
Peter mentioned the event in his epistle. I’m sure Jesus clothing, sewn by His Mother was bright as snow and as Daniel saw in his vision, Jesus ‘ hair was white as wool. Thinking about the transfiguration reminds me one day soon, I will experience my transfiguration at the Parousia. Paul explores this topic and offers his commentary in I Corinthians 15:52 “in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.” The Bible refers to sin as darkness. God allows us small epiphanies to shows our need and God’s perfect holiness. Paul advises the Corinthians (cf 2 Corinthians 3:18: “And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit”). The prospect of our glory adds to our faith. Thomas Aquinas wrote: “Above all is this necessary when hard and rough is the road, heavy the going, but delightful the end.” Acts 14:21: ‘Through many tribulations, we must enter into the kingdom of God.’