Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Glorification of Messiah through DeathScripture: Luke 9: 35
““A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.”
"Paradox is the beating heart of the Gospel" said G.K Chesterton. Jesus frequently used many paradoxes to convey deep spiritual truths. "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted" (Matthew 5:4); "If any one wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all" (Mark 9:35) and so on. In Luke 9:28-36, we are given a glimpse into another paradox: the glorification of Jesus through his death. How can death be a pathway to glory? How can weakness and humility lead to triumph and exaltation? The answer lies in understanding Jesus' mission and the ultimate purpose of his death.
Transfiguration as living symbol of change and renewal
At the mountain, Jesus is transfigured before Peter, John, and James (v.29). The glory of God is made manifest in Jesus, giving us a glimpse of what is to come. Moses and Elijah appear and converse with Jesus, about his "departure" (v.31). This Transfiguration scene serves as a foretelling of the glorification that would come through Jesus' death. Just like he was transfigured on the mountain, Jesus would be glorified on the cross. Moses and Elijah represent the Law and the Prophets, which in a way, foreshadows the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies and the completion of God's redemptive plan through Jesus' death on the cross. This Transfiguration experience is a powerful symbol of renewal. If we die to ourselves, we live for Christ. Dying is not the end, but the beginning of something new. Our lives will also be marked by continuous renewal when we align our lives with His teachings and live according to His ways. This is also an assurance that in our journey of renewal, God’s transformative power will always be working within us.
Embracing the Cross as a Path to Glorification
Peter is taken aback by this extraordinary experience and wants to prolong this amazing moment by building three shelters for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah. But a voice from the cloud declares, "This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!" (v.35) Peter is reminded to "listen" to Jesus, to emulate him, and to embrace the path of suffering that leads to glorification and eternal life. You are not called to build shelters and dwell in comfort, but to follow Jesus on the path of self-denial and sacrifice. There is no shortcut to glory; it comes through the embracing of the cross. Often, like Peter, we are tempted to avoid suffering and seek to set up tents in comfort zones. Therefore, we struggle to have faith in God's plan and find it difficult to accept the seemingly paradoxical path of willingly embracing suffering. Rather than being patient and trusting the process, we tend to seek the finished product without wanting to endure any hardships or challenges. Christ reminds us that there is no crown without the cross and as a Christian, you are to hold these paradoxes close to your heart.
Christian life is not a path of constant success and prosperity, where there is an absence of pain and suffering. Jesus himself experienced suffering and embraced the cross as a path to glorification. Let this be a reminder that suffering is not a sign of God's absence or abandonment, but rather a transitory phase towards life, renewal, and exaltation.
Lord, help us to listen to you and follow you on the path to self-denial and sacrifice. Amen.
Thought for the Day
There are no crown-wearers in heaven who were not cross-bearers here below. C.H Spurgeon
Rev.Prince Varughese Madathilathu
Princeton Theological Seminary