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August 7th, 2013

The Meaning Of Jesus’ Transfiguration

The Meaning Of Jesus Transfiguration

The transfiguration of Jesus (recorded in Matthew 17 and its parallels) is a unique scene in the gospels. Unlike many other events, Jesus did not announce that it would happen, the disciples certainly did not expect it, and this event was never repeated. The word “transfiguration” comes from the Latin roots trans- (“across”) and figura (“form, shape”). It thus signifies a change of form or appearance. This is what happened to Jesus in the event known as the Transfiguration: His appearance changed and became glorious.

The Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-9)

After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.

While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus. As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”

The Meaning of The Transfiguration of Jesus

What did this mean? First, it was a lesson for the disciples about who Jesus was. Recall the context here. The disciples (Peter speaking for them) had confessed that Jesus was the Messiah but they had a mistaken idea of what that meant, and Jesus’ speaking of his death had confused them. The transfiguration served to confirm Peter’s confession. It showed Peter, James, and John that Jesus was no ordinary man nor even a great prophet, but that he was indeed no less than the Son of God, the Messiah of Israel. God was confirming the disciples’ confession.

Second, this scene demanded that men hear Jesus as one who had authority to speak to them. Peter later came to understand this point. In 2 Peter 1:16-21 he acknowledges that the word of Jesus is sure and confirmed and that we must not move away from it. In that passage he tells us that the transfiguration, of which he was a witness, carried this significance. The transfiguration was a statement about the authority of Jesus. On that mountain it was demonstrated that it is now Jesus alone who has authority over men. Moses and Elijah served only a temporary purpose in the plan of God (cf. Rom. 3:21). I think that it is interesting that it was this very point (the passing away of the Law and Prophets) that caused so much trouble in the early church (cf. Acts 15, Galatians, etc.), yet God had already settled this question in the transfiguration of Jesus.

Third, the transfiguration confirmed that the kingdom of the Messiah would be characterized by glory. In the transfiguration the three selected disciples saw a foretaste of the glory and victory of Jesus. This posture of victory would be even clearer to them after Jesus’ resurrection, and it was really only then that the disciples began to put it all together. But for now this scene encouraged the disciples. It showed them that Jesus was indeed the glorified Son of God.

Fourth, this scene is the key to understanding the cross of Jesus and his commitment to it. In Luke’s version of the story he tells us that Jesus spoke with Moses and Elijah about his approaching death in Jerusalem (Luke 9:31). This is an important piece of information, for it shows us the proper context in which to view this scene. The sequence of events in the narrative here in Matthew also shows us very plainly that the transfiguration was meant to be interpreted in light of the death and resurrection of Jesus. References to Jesus’ death literally surround the transfiguration story (Matt.16:21; 17:12, 22f), and Jesus told his disciples not to discuss what they had seen until after his resurrection (Matt. 17:9). Clearly, he wanted them to view the transfiguration in that specific context.

Jesus wanted his disciples to know that he would, indeed, be glorified, but it would not at all be the kind of glory most people were expecting (a worldly kind of supremacy). Nor would he gain that glory in the way most people thought he would (by physical war with Rome). The glory that lay in store for Jesus, which the disciples previewed in the transfiguration, would come through his death and resurrection. The transfiguration was therefore meant to be a lesson on the cross, to show its necessity. It would only be through his death and resurrection that he would attain glory. That’s why Jesus committed himself to the cross: it was the path to glory (cf. John 12:24). The disciples needed to begin to learn this new, biblical but unheard-of idea of glory.

Thus with the transfiguration began phase two of the disciples’ training. The transfiguration was not a random event, but was a precisely timed and executed manifestation of glory that was to serve as a lesson to the disciples about what kind of Messiah Jesus was, and how he would attain his greatness. It was the first lesson in Jesus’ attempt to get them to understand his Messiahship and what it entailed. They had to unlearn the physical, worldly notions of their day and come to terms with the biblical concept of the Messiah that Jesus would fulfill in the days ahead of them.

August 6th, 2013

A Prayer In Time Of Flooding

A Prayer In Time Of Flooding

Lord our God, who in times past withheld rain at the word of Your righteous prophet Elijah, hear the humble pleas of us unworthy sinners during this season of heavy rains and flooding. Do not hand us over to well-deserved chastisement for our many and manifold sins, but rather have mercy on us and save us, sparing us from the unpredictable elements of nature, so we may lead lives of peace and repentance for the rest of our days. In Your love for humankind, protect us from overwhelming rain, flooding, destruction, illness, injury, disaster and sudden death, delivering us from all evil and harm, through the intercessions of our all-holy Lady Mary, the ever-virgin Birth-giver of God, and all Your saints. Amen.

Good and gracious God, all the elements of nature obey your command. Calm the waters that threaten us and turn our fear of your power into praise of your goodness. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

O God, who deals justly with the wicked, and does not will the death of sinners, humbly we entreat your majesty! Protect with heavenly aid your trusting servants from perils of flood, and keep them constantly under your heavenly protection. May they at all times serve you, and never through any temptation be separated from you. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

All powerful and ever living God, we find security in your forgiveness. Give us fine weather we pray, so that we may rejoice in your gifts of kindness and use them always for your glory and our good. Amen.

August 2nd, 2013

10 Guidelines To Protect Your Child From Sexual Abuse

Protect Your Child From Sexual Abuse

Safety on our surroundings decay day by day, not even the children are not safe. We entrust our children in faith to the protection of the Lord all the ways they go. But still it is important that the children are well informed of the traps.

Many parents, thinking that sexual talks are forbidden before children, do not caution them. Healthy knowledge and awareness of sexual behavior is to be handed on to children. They must be aware of what should be done and should not be done.

Ten guidelines to protect your child from sexual abuse

1. Make sure your children know that it is not safe to trust all adults. Tell them that most adults can be trusted, but there are some adults who want to hurt children. Remind them of this every time you are emphasizing the importance of body privacy. Help your children develop a healthy suspicion of older children or adults who want to become overly affectionate with them. Remember, child molesters are more likely to be successful in seducing uninformed and naive children than children who display a healthy suspicion of those who show too much interest in them.

2. Periodically quiz your child about what happens during these times when they are left in the care of other people.

3. Teach your children to stay away from people they don’t know. Caution them against approaching a car driven by a stranger. Warn them to never get into that car, even if the man says, “Your mother has sent me to pick you up for her.” Don’t allow your children to accept gifts from strangers. Explain to them that child molesters often use gifts to lure children into a special relationship with them.

4. Don’t allow your children to be alone on the street after dark. Teach them to look out for strange cars or people who show up in their play areas. Tell them to remember their descriptions and stay away from them. Ask them to bring these cars and people to your attention.

5. Since molesters are often relatives or trusted friends, it’s extremely important for you to never leave your child alone with someone unless you are absolutely sure that person is totally responsible and trustworthy. You can’t afford to make the mistake of assuming they are. You must know that person is safe for your children to be with.

6. Frequently caution your small children to never let anybody touch them underneath their clothing, unless they are helping them go to the bathroom or take a bath. And even when this happens, it should always be with your knowledge and permission. These steps are good precautions.

7. Be sure your child knows that no one should ask them to take part in any sexual activity. Make your children promise to tell you or someone in authority whenever they have been in appropriately touched or abused.

8. Locate any areas in the children’s environment where molestation is likely to occur and bring those areas to your children’s attention, including: back stairways, elevators, alleys, abandoned buildings, wooded areas, and public restrooms. Warn your child to avoid these areas. Never send your child into a public restroom by himself of herself. These are places where predators wait for unsuspecting children.

9. Tell your children there is safety in numbers. Once they start school, encourage them to walk to and from school with their friends.

10. If your children have to be home alone, caution them to keep the doors and windows locked at all times. They should admit no visitors. Teach them to answer the phone in such a way that the caller will not know they are alone. For example, teach them to say, “My mother is not home right now.” Tell them to say, “My mom or my dad can’t come to the phone right now.” That’s true. Explain to them that they haven’t lied by implying that you are home, but neither have they exposed themselves to violation by saying Mom and Dad aren’t home. They are simply telling the caller that Mom or Dad can’t come to the phone right now.

– – – written by Richard Dobb

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