On Earth As It Is in Heaven

by Bethany

Highlighted Text: Matthew 17:1-5
M’Cheyne TextGenesis 17; Matthew 17

Sparks: In Jesus, God’s space and our space came together, his time and our time merged, and his new creation and our present creation somehow knocked “unexpected sparks off one another” [1]. We poignantly see this at the transfiguration. As NT Wright reflects, “[It is] when the glory of God comes down, not on the Temple in Jerusalem, not to the top of Mount Sinai, but onto and into Jesus himself, shining in splendor, talking with Moses and Elijiah, drawing the Law and the Prophets into the time of fulfillment. The transfiguration, as we call it, is the central moment” [2].

Transfiguration: Matthew recorded, “Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him … [A] bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him’” [3].

Kingdom: What does the transfiguration mean? Wright continues, “What the story of Jesus on the mountain demonstrates, for those with eyes to see and ears to hear, is that, just as Jesus seems to be the place where God’s world and ours meet, where God’s time and ours meet, so he is also the place where, so to speak, God’s matter — God’s new creation — intersects with ours. As with everything else in the gospel narrative, the moment is extraordinary, but soon over. It forms part of a new set of signposts, Jesus-shaped signposts, indicating what is to come: a whole new creation, starting with Jesus himself as the seed that is sown in the earth and then rises to become the beginning of that new world” [4]. In other words, in the transfiguration of Jesus, God is showing us that he is taking charge — right here on earth — and that we should pray for that to happen, recognize it in our midst and long for its completion.

Prayer: Lord, The gospels are not about how Jesus turned out to be God. They are about how God became king on earth as it is in heaven [5]. Show us your glory in our midst and let us be kingdom-seekers and kingdom-builders right here and right now. Amen.

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Audio: Bible Listening 

Genesis 17 (4:16 minutes) – here

Matthew 17 (3:39 minutes) – here

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Footnotes

[1] NT Wright. Simply Jesus. Kindle version at page 142.  |  [2] Id.  |  [3] Matthew 17:1-3, 5 ESV  |  [4] Supra [1] at page 143.  |  [5] Supra [1] at page 148.

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