Today's Reading: Matthew 17:1-13
Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” (Matthew 17:4)
What are they doing?!? Don’t the Apostles have a clue?!? Here we have Peter, James and John – the three stooges – and all they can think about are tents. This isn’t a camping trip! This is the Glory of God! The apostles are clueless. They see Moses and Elijah talking to Jesus and they’re focus is on an earthly tabernacle to setup shop for the ancient patriarchs. The Lord, as he often does, has a different plan and it involves a heavenly tabernacle. The Lord’s tabernacle is Jesus, a tent of flesh setup for the Glory of God to dwell in it. While the Zebedee boys and Peter are busy trying to setup a campsite, the Lord opens up His tent of flesh and delivers Himself in all his Glory. He transfigures right before them.
Today’s Gospel is a familiar story from Scripture; we hear it every year on Transfiguration Sunday. We see Peter, James and John in their usual confusion over the Lord and the way he does things. They’re preoccupied with the world, and more specifically with Moses and Elijah. These guys have collected all of the Patriarch trading cards - they might even have Moses’ Exodus Rookie Card - but they’ve missed the whole point, and He’s standing right in front of them.
We often miss the point, too. We go to Church and receive the Body and Blood of Jesus and then run off to live our lives as if the Lord God Himself did not dwell in us – did not make our bodies His tabernacle, too.
The story does not end here. Despite our flesh and blood, the Lord God’s flesh and blood prevails. There is Good Friday and then there is Easter. When all seems lost and consumed in our sin, the Lord Jesus Christ rises from the dead. In the Lord’s Supper God transfigures Himself once more, turning what was lowly into something glorious. Bread and wine become flesh and blood given and shed for you.
The Lord in all His glory hangs on the cross and then dispenses His glory to you, so that it might be your own. In our Lord’s final hour He is victorious over sin. His victory becomes our own at the font of Holy Baptism, where we are sealed with His name. In the name of Jesus. Amen.
Visit then this soul of mine, Pierce the gloom of sin and grief; Fill me, radiancy divine, Scatter all my unbelief; More and more Thy self display, Shining to the perfect day. (LSB 873.3)