“Let me above all fulfill
God my heavenly Father’s will;
Never his good Spirit grieve,
Only to his glory live.
“Loving Jesus, gentle
In thy gracious hands I am;
Make me, Saviour, what Thou art;
Live thyself within my heart.
“I shall then show forth
Serve thee all my happy days;
Then the world shall always see
Christ, the Holy Child in me.”
This was one of the most surprising scenes in the life of our blessed Lord. It forms a great contrast to the other events mentioned in his history. He “came to visit us in great humility.” When we read how he was born in a stable, and cradled in a manger; how he had “not where to lay his head;” when we read of the lowliness, and poverty, and suffering that marked his course, day by day, we come naturally to think of him as “the man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” And though, when we remember how he healed the sick, and cast out devils, and raised the dead to life again; how he walked upon the waters, and controlled the stormy winds and waves with his simple word, he seems wonderful in his power and majesty; yet there is nothing, in all his earthly life, that leads us to think so highly of him, as this scene of the Transfiguration, of which we are now to speak.
The account of this event is given us by three of the evangelists. We find it described by St. Matt, xvii: 1-13. St. Mark ix: 2-13. St. Luke ix: 28-29.
A short time before this took place, Jesus had told his disciples how he was to go up to Jerusalem, to suffer many things, to be put to death, be buried, and be raised again on the third day. St. Matt, xvi: 21. He also told them of the self-denial, which all who became his disciples would be required to exercise. This was very different from what they were expecting and must have been very discouraging to them. They did not yet understand that their Master had come into the world to suffer and to die. Instead of this, their minds were filled with the idea that the object of his coming was to establish an earthly kingdom and to reign in glory. And, for themselves, they were expecting that they would share his glory and reign as princes with him. And so they must have been greatly troubled by his words. To encourage and comfort them, therefore, he told them that, before they died, some of them should “see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”
And then, some days after this, he took three of his disciples, the favored John and James and Peter, and went up with them “into a mountain, apart by themselves, and was transfigured before them.” We are not told what mountain it was that was thus honored. Mount Tabor, near Nazareth, on the borders of the Plain of Esdraelon, has long been regarded as the favored spot. But, in our day, many persons