The church that I am fortunate to serve unveiled its vision statement for the present and the future. Our vision statement is “Reflecting Jesus and His Love.” This vision statement was born out of realizing the needs of our local community and society. These needs begin with our desire for the people around us to see Jesus. Whether they see the church, see our members at work, our children, and teens at school or on the field or in other places, we want people see Jesus and His love. This means that the local church must have Jesus at the front of everything we say and do.
We would think that this would be an understood truth, but having Jesus at the front is no guarantee that the church will see Him. If the church cannot see Jesus, the church cannot reflect Jesus. There is an event in Jesus’ life where this very thing happened to Him. This event takes place in Matthew 17:1-8. Jesus and His disciples are six days removed from Peter’s great confession that Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16) This confession is one of the great moments in any gospel account of Jesus’ life.
Fast-forwarding to our text, Jesus takes Peter, James, and John up on a mountain. On this mountain, Jesus is “transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light.” (Matthew 17:2) Jesus’ appearance is changed for the benefit of the three disciples. They receive a glimpse of the glory of Jesus that has been wrapped up in human flesh. Moses and Elijah appear alongside of Jesus to speak to Him and to encourage Him. All three disciples are amazed at whose presence they are in and Peter, speaking out of good intentions, desires to build three tents to honor all three influential leaders.
Though this desire is born out of good intentions, Peter, along with James and John, completely miss what is going on. Therefore, God intervenes and re-orients the disciples and their focus. God says “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him” (Matthew 17:5b). The disciples, upon hearing the voice of God, fall to their knees in terror. These three disciples have had the opportunity to see Jesus in a way that is hidden to others. They are privileged and honored to witness the unveiling of Jesus’ glory and honor. They see Jesus but miss Him completely. What has kept you from seeing Jesus lately? What things have been going on in your heart or mind or in daily that have been blocking your view?
Today, let me encourage you to lift up your eyes and see no one “but Jesus only” (Matthew 17:8). When you see Jesus, you can reflect!