After Being Transfigured

November 8th, 2007 • Category: Variety Week
by Keith Phillips

Today’s scripture: Matthew 17:14-21 (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me in this passage? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (Keith Phillips):

There’s something rebellious in my character that delights in those passages of Scripture in which Jesus shows those emotions which I was taught as a youth that Jesus, meek and mild, could never have.

I love verse seventeen in this chapter, where Jesus is clearly frustrated to the point of shaking his head and maybe even thinking about giving up the whole enterprise. And this, immediately after coming down from the Mount of Transfiguration where God had declared, “This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased.”

Of course, Jesus is upset with this “faithless and perverse generation.” He’s speaking of his whole culture, rather than his small band of followers. His world (God‘s chosen people, Israel), and our world (so-called Christian America?) have gone awry because we just don’t get it, simply don’t recognize God’s power and God’s right to reign. Jesus shakes his head, but still he goes ahead and does the right thing, healing the boy with epilepsy. I love it!

Just a little bit later, after he and the disciples get away from the crowds, he says that we can do that, too. He talks about our faith being small, being insignificant in a world where stuff, and experiences, and what others think are so much more important. But even though small, our faith, our willingness to take God seriously is what can make all the difference in this world; this is what can move mountains.

I, too, get frustrated with the attitudes around me in this crazy world of ours. And so, I try my best to refocus on what’s truly important, what’s truly powerful; and I try to go ahead and do the right thing, the loving thing (I Corinthians 13:2).

Thought for the day: On what, or on whom will my focus be today? At the end of the day, will those around me have seen more frustration or more loving faith from me?

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

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