We call this coming Sunday “Transfiguration Sunday,” but I think a better name for it would be “Listening Sunday.”
The moment on the mountain top starts out with the dazzling image of Jesus transfigured. But the real high point of this gospel lesson is the voice bellowing from above:
This is my Son, the Beloved; LISTEN TO HIM!
The Greek word translated “listen” here is really more like, “be listening to him.”
Keep on listening to him.
Continue to be listening to him.
Not just listen right now. This one time.
Always be listening.
That’s not an easy thing to do.
The disciples, especially Peter, have a problem with it.
Just a few verses before, when Jesus spoke of suffering, dying, and rising, Peter just wouldn’t hear it.
Even though Jesus has been leading them quickly from one place to another, pointing ahead to the cross, Peter wants to set up camp and stay put on the mountain top.
And still, after the mountain top moment, after watching Jesus heal countless and even raise the dead, after hearing him speak about his own death and resurrection, the disciples are still questioning “what this rising from the dead could mean.”
The disciples are terrible at listening.
But Jesus does not give up on them.
Not when the disciples are stern with the children approaching Jesus, despite having already been told by him “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.”
Not when James and John ask Jesus to reserve places of glory for them, even though they had already heard Jesus say “many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”
Not even when Jesus tells Peter that he will deny him, and Peter swears he will not, and then does exactly that.
Jesus does not give up on them.
In fact, the first thing he does when he rises from the dead is send a message that he will going ahead of them to Galilee. The messenger at the tomb reminds them, again, “there you will see him, just as he told you.”
The good news keeps on breaking into the world. The Word continues to make himself known. And the truth will be proclaimed again and again until the world finally hears it.
Are you listening?