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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

On Your Mark by Dr. George O. Wood


My Son, Whom I Love

Then a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!” Suddenly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus. (Mark 9:7,8, NIV)

The moments of the Transfiguration are nearly complete. Jesus’ appearance was as dazzling as lightning, and His clothes whiter than any bleach could get them. Moses and Elijah stood with Him, giving their endorsement of His person and mission.

As spectacular as those moments had been, the event builds toward its climax. A cloud appears, and the Heavenly Father himself speaks. What the Father says is the core of the good news, for He affirms the identity of Jesus (“This is my Son”), describes the quality of their relationship (“whom I love”), and backs His Son’s mission (“Listen to Him!”).

Before the Father spoke, Jesus received the approval of the Law and the Prophets through their representatives, Moses and Elijah. But the Father’s approval is far more important. God himself backs who Jesus is and what He will do.

I have a son also whom I dearly love. I know how I feel toward him and toward anyone who would either love or mistreat him. Those who love him, I will love; but those who mistreat him, I will not honor. The Heavenly Father feels that way toward His Beloved Son.

This is the second time in the Gospel of Mark that the Father is recorded as speaking from heaven. The first instance was at Jesus’ baptism where the Father said, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased” (1:11). The words of the Father in that moment communicated the endorsement of the years Jesus spent in obscurity.

By contrast, the Father’s words at the Transfiguration provide an endorsement of Jesus’ ministry to that point. A new phrase is spoken that was not at His baptism: “Listen to Him.” That admonition is now necessary because Jesus has set His face to go to the cross. The temptation of the disciples will be to dissuade Him and to seek other alternatives. Instead, the Father is saying, “You must listen!”

On a theological level, we clearly see here a dynamic in the nature of “God is One” that is only hinted at in the Old Testament. While the word Trinity is not used in Scripture, clearly the identity of God is being revealed as Father and Son, and the focus subsequently will also include the Holy Spirit (as had happened at Jesus’ baptism). We are dealing with mystery here: how God can be One — yet Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

We can no more fully plumb the depths of God’s nature than a mouse can be genetically engineered to solve a calculus problem. The secret things do belong to God, but the things He has revealed belong to us (Deuteronomy 29:29).

The Transfiguration comes to a close. The lawgiver is gone, as is the prophets’ representative. Their momentary appearances stand in contrast to the permanence of Christ.

Moses and Elijah, as great a mark as they left, were mere mortals. They cannot make the promise Jesus would later make: “I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20).

When friends or finances fail, when reverses come, when you lose all that is near and dear to you, Jesus still remains. Faithful Friend. Trusted Counselor. Loving Lord and Savior.

A prayer of response
Heavenly Father, I will listen to Your Beloved Son. I can never love Him as much as You, but I love Him.

GEORGE O. WOOD is general superintendent of the Assemblies of God.

On Your Mark

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