by Emma Strelan
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Peter said to Jesus, ‘Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters – one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah’ (Mark 9:5).
Read Mark 9:2–9
Here’s a classic icebreaker question for you: if you could have any three religious/Christian figures from history over for dinner, who would they be?
My answer is CS Lewis, Phoebe (the deliverer of Paul’s letter to the Romans), and Katharina Zell (a prominent Protestant woman from the early 16th century). Oh, and I’d probably cook some kind of cheesy pasta bake, and we’d spend the night discussing cool theological matters.
Peter, James, and John’s answer to this question would have likely been Elijah, Moses and their Rabbi Jesus.
Well, the ultimate dinner party wish list comes true! I mean, Moses is the very man God used to bring salvation to the entire Israelite nation in Exodus, and Elijah was the Israelites’ most famous prophet. So, naturally, upon seeing these great figures appear in front of them, the disciples want to get their guests comfortable – put up some shelters and maybe pop open a glass of red. But this encounter doesn’t end in an intellectual discussion around a three-course meal as I would have hoped my dream dinner would be.
Instead, this rendezvous is characterised by fear and bumbling, awkward interactions. A bit star-struck, are we? Well, maybe that’s a little more realistic anyway.
In this story, the Jesus the disciples have been journeying with for some time now, with his scraggly hair, beard in need of a trim, and clothes that could likely do with some tough stain remover, is transfigured into a figure in dazzling white, surrounded by a cloud declaring he is God’s Son!
Here, the disciples get to see Jesus in a different light and in the company of the spiritual greats of their world. Ah, now they get it! (Or so they think.)
So, isn’t it time for the rest of the world to finally realise it as well? Will Jesus walk back down the mountain, shining brightly so all can see and believe?
A moment later, it’s just Jesus and his rag-tag bunch of disciples again. As they descend back into the world of sickness, poverty, demon possession, hypocrites and death, the revealed Son of God goes with them. Clothed again in a robe stained from that morning’s breakfast: God’s Son, the Saviour of the world.
Father God, I thank you that in the revelation of your Son with us, you leave us confirmation of your presence in this desolate world. We don’t always understand the way you reveal yourself, but we can be confident that you are here. Amen.
Emma works as a freelance videographer in Adelaide, and she recently joined Lutheran Media as its Production Assistant. Emma also studies theology and is heavily involved in youth camping ministry around South Australia. In her free time, she eats a lot of cheese, attempts to grow vegetables (the tomatoes have been the best success so far), and has committed the majority of her ‘casual reading’ time this year to getting through War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy.