Text: Mark 9:2-9
A bit of drama, a hint of science fiction, a lot of mystery, the bonds of friendship, the voice of God-the Transfiguration story has something for everyone. It is classical biblical material and theologians love these kinds of texts. They are an open door for rigorous theological debate; and what serious theological student doesn’t love a heated debate on issues of theological substance. If anything, the story of the Transfiguration of Jesus is like a well-designed playground for meaningful theological interaction. Over the centuries, thoughtful religious scholars have engaged this story in areas of Christology, pre- and post-resurrection appearances, and understanding the divine presence of God. In seminary, with a refreshing drink in hand, I enjoyed nothing more than sitting with my friends and having spirited conversations about the humanity of Christ versus the divinity of Christ; or whether the crucifixion was really necessary for the atonement of sins; or the historical versus the theological significance of the resurrection; or whether or not God’s voice is actually audible-all issues raised within the context of the Transfiguration.
But that is not the conversation I want to have with you this morning. I don’t want to debate this story the way scholars have debated it with words like: pre- and post-resurrection appearance; or Christ’s humanity versus his divinity; or the historical versus theological nature of the Transfiguration. No. What interests me about this story is this question: What does the story of the Transfiguration attempt to say about who Jesus is and who his disciples were and who people like us are when touched by God? Those are the questions at the heart of this story and, if, for the next few moments, we consider what truth they hold, we may just leave here transfigured ourselves.