My beloved spiritual children in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE. Ο ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΕΝ ΤΩ ΜΕΣΩ ΗΜΩΝ! ΚΑΙ ΗΝ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΙ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΑΙ.
THE HOLY TRANSFIGURATION OF OUR LORD, GOD, AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST (PART III)
At the great event of the Transfiguration of Christ there were only three Disciples present: Peter, James and John. These three persons are included by Christ also at all the great moments, such as the raising of the daughter of Jairus and His prayer in Gethsemane.
This choice cannot be characterized as favoritism. We cannot ascribe to Christ human dispositions and passionate feelings. There is a deeper theological cause. We know very well that the revelation and manifestation of God can be Paradise for those who are fit for this vision of God and Hell for those who are unclean, or at least for those who are not prepared. This is why one must be in a suitable spiritual condition to receive the revelation of God as a vision of God, not punitively. So it seems that the three Disciples were most suited for receiving this revelation of God. To the other He had to remain hidden and be revealed after His Resurrection.
The three Disciples had some qualifications which made them fit to share this vision of God. All three were superior to the other Disciples (Saint John Chrysostom). Their superiority is seen in the fact that Peter loved Christ very much with the warmth of faith, John was very much loved by Christ because of his superlative virtues, and James because he was extremely disagreeable to the Jews, for which Herod even killed him (Zygavinos).
At any rate, two of the three Disciples who were present at Mt. Tabor at that tremendous hour gave their witness concerning the event. The Apostle Peter writes in his epistle: "For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eye-witnesses of His majesty." And when he refers to the voice of the Father he writes: "And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain..." (2 Peter 1:16-20). But John the Evangelist also writes in his General Epistle: "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at, and our hands have touched--this we proclaim concerning the word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us" (1 John 1:1-2). In addition to these two passages we can note that all the texts which the Holy Apostles wrote are proof of the Divine sight, they are a result of the experience which they had on Mt. Tabor and at Pentecost.
In their delight at seeing Christ transfigured, the three Disciples also said "It is good for us to be here. If you wish, let us make here three booths: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah", and then when the bright cloud overshadowed them and the voice of the Father was heard, "they fell face down to the ground and were terrified" (St. Matthew 17:6). The Holy Fathers of the Church (St. Basil the Great, Saint John Chrysostom and Saint Gregory Palamas) say that they fell to the ground because of the excess of Light. Furthermore, the voice of the Father was a vision of God, and indeed to a greater degree than the Disciples had had before. So they were frightened by the exceedingly Great Light.
In the liturgical texts which refer to this event sometimes it says that the Disciples felt fear and sometimes that they felt joy. But as the Holy Fathers explain, this fear was closely connected with joy of the perfect. For there is the beginner's fear and the fear of the perfect. Here it is a question of joy, reverence, worship of the great mystery of which they had been granted to be spectators.
We have already emphasized that the two Prophets were representatives of the Old Testament and the three Apostles were representative of the New Testament. So it is clearly to be seen that Christ is the center of the Holy Scripture. The Old Testament describes the revelation of the Unincarnate Logos (Word) and prophesies His Incarnation, and the New Testament describes the Incarnation of the Son and Logos (Word) of God. It not only presents it, but gives evidence that men too can partake of the Incarnation, in the sense that they can become members of the body of Christ.
Thus the central point of Holy Scripture is Christ, and indeed Christ in glory. This is why we must not stop at a few stories and draw moral conclusions, though these of course are unavoidable and necessary, and overlook the basic message of Holy Scripture. And since Christ is the center of Holy Scripture, the Unicarnate and Incarnate Logos (Word) and the Church is the body of Christ, therefore Holy Scripture is interpreted infallibly only by the Church and those who are living in the God-seeing atmosphere of the Church. The deified, who are the living members of Christ, are able to interpret Holy Scripture.
MY BLESSING TO ALL OF YOU
The Grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.
Glory Be To GOD For All Things!
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God