Prepare to Listen. Get up and do not be afraid.
Prayerfully Read Matthew 17:1-8
Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. 2And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. 3Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. 4Then Peter said to Jesus, ‘Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’ 5While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!’ 6When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. 7But Jesus came and touched them, saying, ‘Get up and do not be afraid.’ 8And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone.
Six days after explaining that his messianic mission included suffering, death and resurrection; six days after the disciples failed to hear, really hear what he said, Jesus went up a high mountain with Peter, James and John. “And he was transfigured before them,” Matthew matter-of-factly writes. There was much to see, and all of it bright. When Moses and Elijah arrived, there was also much to hear. But it seems the disciples didn’t hear it, or weren’t listening. Peter didn’t hesitate to interrupt the conversation with a dumb offer to build three dwellings. What was he thinking? Did he hope to hold onto this once-in-a-lifetime experience forever, just for themselves?
He was interrupted. “While he was still speaking,” a cloud overshadowed them with a brightness that makes sight impossible. But this time, sight wasn’t required, only hearing. A Voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased.” We’ve heard this twice before in Matthew, but this is the first time God added the command: “listen to him!” Listen to his words about suffering, death and resurrection; listen to his words about denying yourself, taking up your cross and following Jesus. Listen. He has spoken the truth, all that was needed to be said. Listen to him, that is, hear and obey and be transformed.
The bright cloud and the God-Voice was so shocking, the disciples fell to the ground, overcome with fear. They stayed there until Jesus touched them and they finally looked up, and “saw no one except Jesus himself alone.” That was all they needed to see.
Imagine the scene and how you would react to what was seen and heard.
Respond in Prayer
In the midst of my busy and cluttered world, Lord, help me see only you and then listen to you by obeying what you command. Amen.
Live Obediently. Listen to Jesus today.
 The other 2 were at his baptism (3:17) and in the prophecy from Isaiah (2:18).
Despite having frequently read and taught Matthew's Gospel, preparing these daily devotions, taking that second gaze, has surprised me with newness.