Today's Reading: Matthew 17:1-9
While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!" (Matthew 17:5)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. The season following Epiphany ends like it began, with the voice of the Father saying, "This is my beloved Son." But there's something else this time: "Hear Him!" The Father wants to make sure the disciples pay attention to Jesus' words. It's going to be hard to do--impossible, really. They see His glory now, but what about soon, when He's on the cross? It seems impossible to trust in a God who can die! So the Father anchors what is about to happen in His Son's Word. Don't look to whether Jesus is shining with glory or bloody and nailed to the tree. Rather, "Hear Him." Listen to His Word.
That is the Word that declares that the One who dies will rise again; that the One who dies is God and man in one person; that the One who dies is the same One who shines in glory. It's the same God. Don't be fooled by the nails and thorns and spear. That's all for you!
It goes for us today as well. Hear Him. Listen to Christ's Word. That's the Word that splashes on us in Holy Baptism. That's the Word of Absolution and the preaching and teaching of our pastors. That's the Word that delivers the Body and Blood of Jesus for the forgiveness of all of your sins. Listen to that Word, because that will tell you what is going on: God is saving you in Christ.
St. Paul teaches us that "faith comes by hearing," not by seeing Jesus shining in glory. The Father's "Hear Him!" is a reminder of what shows us who Jesus really is, not simply when He LOOKS like God, but when He least looks like God. On the cross, He is most in His glory as He saves sinners. That confession comes only by His Word. Thanks be to God that He gives us that Word and His Son to hear. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
O God, who in the glorious transfiguration of Your only-begotten Son confirmed the mysteries of the faith by the testimony of the fathers and who, in the voice that came from the bright cloud, did in a wonderful manner foreshow the adoption of sons, mercifully make us co-heirs with the King of His glory and bring us to the enjoyment of our inheritance in heaven; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (Collect for the Transfiguration)