As we come to the end of our series asking the question ‘Who is Jesus?’ we are really coming 360 degrees from where we started, as we looked at the baptism of Christ. If you remember, or know your scriptures well, you will recall that as Jesus came up out of the water, the Spirit in the form of a dove descended and the voice of the father said, “you are my Son, the Beloved, with you I am well pleased” (Mark 1:11).
On Sunday we will hear the words of the Father once again being spoken over the Son, affirming his identity, however, this time the words are not for Jesus alone. “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!” (Mark 9:7).
The similarities here are clear – Jesus’ identity as the Son of God is pronounced. However, there is also a distinct difference. The words at Christ’s baptism were for him to hear – they were personal (“with YOU I am well pleased”). Yet the words here at the Transfiguration emphasize that with Christ’s identity comes power and authority (“listen to HIM!”).
If we look ahead into the season of Lent we will be, as a church, looking at the theme of covenant. What does it mean to be in covenant relationship with God? How is this different from God’s unconditional love for his creation? Throughout the series Covenantal, which has an accompanying resource downloadable from our homepage (www.stjohnmd.org), we will be looking back in Scripture to Noah, Abraham, and Moses to understand more of what it is to be in Covenant.
Returning to this week, and Jesus being transfigured before his closest disciples, looking back is very much a theme which we will see as Moses and Elijah appear alongside Jesus as the voice of the Father is heard.
Not everything that has been is good and worth keeping hold of. However, we can learn from the past and we can look forward to what will be, without losing sight of where we are coming from and what God has spoken over us previously.
This month we are engaging actively and intentionally in listening to God to shape the mission, ministry and direction of St. John. Please be joining us in this and sharing what you feel you are hearing.
God is doing a new thing amongst us. He is preparing us for the next season and we need to be faithful in where he is leading us. Just as I spoke on last week, the disciples were led away from the crowd so as not to be influenced by them, but to be more able to hear and respond to the words of Christ. Let us too be influenced by his Word over and above the noise of the crowd as we move forward following him on this walk called discipleship.