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Τετάρτη, 6 Αυγούστου 2014

The Transfiguration of Christ

Why would Jesus take three of His closest disciples to the top of Mt Tabor, forty days before His passion to miraculously change His appearance and be seen with two long-gone figures of antiquity? Would it be a sort of show, a self-indulgent final stand? Nothing of that kind, of course, but instead another outpouring of His infinite love, power and wisdom. Jesus’ earthly life was one of humility and condescension, of persecution and tribulation. The epitome of this would be His upcoming Divine Passion. Would His disciples, His closest friends and followers, be able to stand such a stress? Or would they be scandalised, in hurt and in fear, beyond what they could cope with?

One of the hymns of the feast, the Kontakion, gives us a powerful insight into the meaning of the event:

You were transfigured on the mountain, and Your disciples saw Your glory as much as they could bear; so that when they saw You crucified, they would consciously understand Your passion, and that they would declare to the world that You are truly born of the Father. Jesus acted in love to strengthen His disciples’ faith. His incredible radiance was but a ray of His glory, showing only “as much as they could bear”. The memory of this event would give them the strength to endure the pain of the Crucifixion and the inspiration to proclaim the Good News to the world.

His clothes shining as white as light remind us of His previous words: “I am the Light of the World”. It is the same glow that emanated from the saints as they were transfigured through their climb to virtue and purity; it is this light that the halos signify in all our icons. His face, the same face that did not turn away from the spittings and blows at His passion, shone as with all the brightness of the sun. And just as the sun, having its own energy, energises and sustains the world, the Creator of the sun, the Sun of Righteousness, enlightens and sustains His people.

If this spectacular revelation was not enough, the transfigured Son of God was surrounded by two revered men of the Old Testament. With their presence, they affirmed that He is indeed the fulfilment of the Law and the expectation of the Old Testament. This was no ordinary scene. The disciples, in ecstasy, lived but a small taste of the kingdom of Heaven. They did not want it to end. It was amazing, beautiful, indescribable.

Amongst this the voice of the Father yet again affirmed that Jesus, in what He had already done and what He was about to endure, was acting in complete harmony with the will of the Father, for no other reason than our illumination and salvation.

The Transfiguration of Christ was not merely a show. It was an outpouring of love and comfort, a taste of things to come, a promise of communion with His followers who are prepared to follow Him on the steep mountain climb of life.

source : ΛΥΧΝΟΣ A GREEK ORTHODOX PERIODICAL FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

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