31 January 2008

A Mountaintop and a Hilltop

A brief reflection on the Transfiguration, from Bishop Tom Wright:

In fact, the scene at the transfiguration (as it’s normally called) offers a strange parallel and contrast to the crucifixion (Matthew 27:33-54). If you’re going to meditate on the one, you might like to hold the other in your mind as well, as a sort of backdrop. Here, on a mountain, is Jesus, revealed in glory; there, on a hill outside Jerusalem, is Jesus, revealed in shame. Here his clothes are shining white; there, they have been stripped off, and soldiers have gambled for them. Here he is flanked by Moses and Elijah, two of Israel’s greatest heroes, representing the law and the prophets; there, he is flanked by two brigands, representing the level to which Israel had sunk in rebellion against God. Here, a bright cloud overshadows the scene; there, darkness comes upon the land. Here Peter blurts out how wonderful it all is; there, he is hiding in shame after denying he even knows Jesus. Here a voice from God himself declares that this is his wonderful son; there, a pagan soldier declares in surprise, that this really was God’s son.

[Matthew for Everyone, Part 2, page 14]

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