In the first part of this series, we saw an introduction to Jesus’ life and saw how significant the first part of his life was. We looked at Jesus as a boy in the temple, and the calling of his disciples. The significance of those two events are astounding, and really give us good insight as to how the little things Jesus did meant so much.
The way he was teaching the men in the temple about God’s law showed how he really was the Son of God because of how well he knew it. And the calling of his disciples was amazing because of who he chose. Each one had their own background that would either help their mission, or change their life for the better. This time though we will fast forward to two events, Jesus’ Transfiguration, and his reading in the synagogue. We will look at these two and learn how these events represented so much more than what they appeared.
The Transfiguration event occurs in the first three Gospels, Matthew 17:1-13, Mark 9:2-8, and Luke 9:28-36. This event represents a lot of things in Jesus’ life that he was trying to prove to his disciples. Lets look at the account from Matthew to get a better understanding of this truly amazing event.
Matthew 17:1-13, “After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus. As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.” The disciples asked him, “Why then do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?” Jesus replied, “To be sure, Elijah comes and will restore all things. But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.” Then the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist.”
Now, let’s look at the word “transfigured” to get a full understanding of its meaning. The definition of it is simply “to change form” or to “transform”. And here we see that Jesus completely changed form. His face shone bright like the sun, and his clothes were as bright as light. This shows us that Jesus did not walk around with fine, clean clothes all the time. If he did the disciples would not have said he “transfigured” before them because nothing about him would have changed. Jesus wanted them to see his glory and how awesome he really is.
But let’s also look for a second at who else was on that mountain, Moses and Elijah. Well, what do these two people represent? Moses Law, and Elijah Prophets. This could represent the ending of the Old Law by fulfillment of Jesus Christ (Matthew 5:17), and the prophecies of the Prophets becoming reality (Acts 3:18). Also God’s voice said something as well when Jesus was on the mountain, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” This could also be another representation of Jesus’ fulfillment of the Old Law because God tells the disciples to ‘listen to Jesus’. Whatever the case may be it is truly a breath-taking story, and another mystery of Jesus.
The second event we’ll look at today his Jesus’ reading in the Nazareth synagogue. Jesus was originally from Nazareth, and he knew he was going to be rejected, but that’s exactly why he went. Luke 4:16-21 is where we find this event and it reads,
“He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
Jesus had a reason for everything he did here. He went to a Nazareth synagogue, why? He knew he would be rejected because in verse 24 he says, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown.” And in verse 28 it tells us that all the people drove him out because there were furious. This scripture is quoted from Isaiah 61:1-2. No why this Scripture? This was a summary of what Jesus’ ministry is all about. He had the Spirit of Lord, because he was Lord. He proclaimed good news to the poor because he is the good news. He healed blind men and set us and everyone free from sin. But what was “the year of the Lord’s favor?” The year of Jubilee. Now whether or not Jesus meant that the year they were in was Jubilee doesn’t make a difference. But this whole scripture talks about things that are good. Poor receiving good news, setting oppressed free, giving sight to the blind are all good things. All things to celebrate, and that’s what the year of Jubilee is, a year of celebration. But all in all Jesus said “today this scripture is fulfilled” because he was going to teach to the poor, and give sight to blind, and set the oppressed free. That’s the meaning of this Scripture that he reads.
In conclusion there are so many things Jesus did we do not have all the time in the world to talk about them. But some of them are really amazing when you look at the symbolism of them and what they really mean. So next time you look at a story of Jesus, think about what else it could mean, dig deeper than just what the text says, and make your own discoveries of how truly amazing Jesus is.