In the Transfiguration, Peter, James, and John saw their Lord in his undisguised sanctity. As he spoke familiarly to Moses and Elias (long since departed from this mortal realm), “his face did shine like the sun: and his garments became white as snow.”
In the glory of Christ the apostles rightly see a vision of their own destiny. God has created us to share his own eternal life. Peter, noting that “it is good for us to be here,” naturally offers to set up tabernacles so that the blissful communion might continue indefinitely.
As Peter ought to recall, however, Christ has announced other plans for the immediate future (Mt. 16:21-23).
This time, though, the Lord does not rebuke his chosen vicar. Instead, having allowed him a glimpse of heaven, he follows with a reminder that fallen man is not yet prepared to receive the fullness of the divine presence.
The disciples are “overshadowed” by a “bright cloud,” and hear the voice of the Father. In their sinfulness, all they can do is collapse in fear, until Christ revives them with his touch. “Lifting up their eyes,” they see “no one but only Jesus.”
Though their Master bids them “fear not,” he will soon be sweating blood in anticipation of the cup he is to drink for our salvation.
Christ drinks that cup because he wants to share his glory with us, and yet he knows that “there shall not enter into [heaven] any thing defiled” (Apoc. 21:27).
If we are to share in Christ’s own life, we must first be sanctified. Who can cleanse us from our sins, and make that sanctification possible?
“Only Jesus.” “Hear ye him!”
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