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.
ON AUGUST 6TH OUR HOLY ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN CHURCH COMMEMORATES THE HOLY TRANSFIGURATION (METAMORPHOSIS) OF THE SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST
"Six days later, Jesus took with Him Peter, James, AND John his brother, and He brought them up into a high mountain by themselves. [There], He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as the light. And behold, Moses and Elias (Elijah) appeared to them, talking with Him. Peter then said to Jesus, 'Lord, it is good for us to be here! If you want, let us make three tents here: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elias (Elijah).' While Peter was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them. And behold, a voice came out of the cloud, saying, 'This is My beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased. Listen to Him.' When the disciples heard it, they fell on the faces and were very afraid. Jesus came and touched them, saying, "Get up and do not be afraid.' Lifting up their eyes, they saw no one, except Jesus alone. As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus gave them this order: 'Do not tell anyone what you saw, until the Son of Man has risen again from the dead" ( St. Matthew 17:1-9).
In the third year of His earthly ministry, the Lord Jesus spoke more frequently to His disciples of His coming Passion but linked it always with His glory after His suffering on the Cross. That His coming suffering should not utterly shatter His disciples so that they fall away from Him. He, the All-Wise, decides to show them before His Passion, something of His Divine Glory. He, therefore, taking Him Peter, James and John, went by night onto Mount Tabor and was there transfigured before them. 'And His face shone as the sun, and His raiment became white as snow', and there appeared beside Him Moses and Elias, the great Prophets of the Old Testament. And the disciples saw and were amazed, and Peter said: 'Lord, it is good for us to be here; if Thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles: one for Thee, one for Moses and one for Elias.' While Peter was still speaking, Moses and Elias disappeared and a bright cloud came and overshadowed the Lord and the disciples, and a voice came out of the cloud: 'This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him.' Hearing this voice, the disciples fell prostrate on the ground as though dead, and remained thus lying in fear until the Lord came to them and said: 'Arise, and be not afraid' (Matthew 17). Why did the Lord take only three disciples with Him onto Tabor, and not all of them? Because Judas was not worthy to behold the Divine glory of the Master Whom he was to betray, and the Lord did not want to leave him alone at the foot of the mountain, that the betrayer should not thus work his betrayal. Why was He transfigured on the mountain and not in the valley? That He might teach us two virtues: Love of toil and pondering on God. To climb to the heights involves toil, and the heights represent the heights of our thoughts: pondering on God. Why was He transfigured at night? Because the night is more fitted to prayer and meditation than the day, and because the night covers all earthly beauty with darkness and reveals the beauty of the starry heavens. Why did Moses and Elias appear? To shatter the Jewish fallacy that Christ was one of the Prophets--Elias, Jeremiah or one of the others. This was why He revealed Himself as King over the Prophets, and why Moses and Elias appeared as His servants. Up to this moment, the Lord had many times shown His Divine power to His Disciples, but on Tabor, He showed them His Divine Nature. This vision of His Divinity and the hearing of the heavenly witness to Him as the Son of God must have been of support to the Disciples in the days of the Lord's suffering, for the strengthening of steadfast faith in Him and His final victory.
Why did the Lord not reveal His Divine glory on Tabor before all the disciples, but only before the three? First, because He Himself had given the Law through Moses: 'At the mouth of two witnesses or...of three, shall the matter be established' (Deuteronomy 19:15). Three, witnesses were, then, enough. There was, though, a special reason for choosing these three disciples. The three of them represented the three virtues: Peter--faith, for he was the first to proclaim his faith in Christ as the Son of God; James--hope, for it was with hope in the promise of Christ that he was the first to lay down his life for the Lord, being the first killed by the Jews; John--love, for he lay on the Lord's breast and stayed beneath the Lord's Cross till the end. God is not the God of the many but the God of the chosen: "I am the God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob'. God has often valued one faithful man more highly than a whole people. On several occasions, He intended to exterminate the Jewish people, but, at the prayers of righteous Moses, He left the people alive. God hearkened to Elias more than to all the royalty of the faithless Ahab. At the prayers of one man, God often saved both towns and men. Thus the sinful town of Ustiug would have been destroyed by fire and hail if the one righteous man in it, Saint Procopius the Fool-for-Christ (see July 8th) has not saved it by his prayers. (Source: The Prologue from Ochrid)
(To be continued)
"Glory Be To GOD For All Things!" -- Saint John Chrysostomos
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God