Back to Podcasts
How to Listen: Subscribe (it’s free!) in your favorite podcast app.
Mar 10, 2020

The Hidden Message of the Transfiguration

Dr. Edward Sri

We celebrate the Transfiguration as we inch closer to Christ’s Passion, but it’s easy to forget that the two events are closely related. During the Transfiguration, God tells Peter, James, and John, “This is my beloved Son, listen to him.” What does God mean when he says “listen to him”? Dr. Sri explains the hidden message embedded in this command. 

Snippet from the Show

When Jesus asks us to confront what’s difficult in our lives, he gives us abundant grace to face it.


The Central Message of the Transfiguration: “Listen to him”

When God says this to Peter, James, and John during the Transfiguration, he is not only speaking generally; he’s referring to a specific teaching Jesus had just given the apostles, six days prior. 

Jesus’ Teachings Leading up to the Transfiguration

Peter’s Declaration about Jesus

“Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesare′a Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do men say that the Son of man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Eli′jah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.”

Matthew 16:13-20

Jesus Foretells His Death and Resurrection

“From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him and began to rebuke him, saying, “God forbid, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me; for you are not on the side of God, but of men.”

Matthew 16:21-23

The Cross and Self-Denial

“Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”

Matthew 16:24

The Transfiguration

“And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain apart. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his garments became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Eli′jah, talking with him. And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is well that we are here; if you wish, I will make three booths here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Eli′jah.” He was still speaking, when lo, 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.” When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces, and were filled with awe. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and have no fear.” And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.”

Matthew 17:1-8

Do we listen to God when he asks us to do things that are difficult? 

We may listen to God when he’s encouraging us and in good times, but are we listening to him when what he’s telling us is difficult to hear? It can be hard to follow the call of God, especially when that call involves doing something we don’t think we can do, or maybe don’t even want to do. Here are a couple practical ways we can practice listening to God:

  1. Follow your daily responsibilities.
    This can be done through the most practical things, like going to work, doing your chores, going to class, and keeping your commitments.
  2. Prioritize difficult tasks.
    Is there something you’ve been putting off just because you don’t like that certain task, or don’t feel like doing it? Today or tomorrow, do that thing first.
  3. Don’t shy away from difficult topics.
    Don’t run away from tough conversations; face them head on for the betterment of your workplace, family, and friendships

Mother Mary Francis on Doing What’s Hard

“Sometimes, a little child will say ‘It’s so hard to be good!’ And so we have to practice. It is hard to become a concert pianist. It is hard to become an expert surgeon. It is hard to become an outstanding ballerina. We have to practice, and practice, and practice. If this is true of the worldly arts, it is more true of the art of spiritual fidelity. Sometimes in our slothfulness or our fear we are doing the equivalent of saying to God ‘It’s so hard!’ I think God says to us, ‘You don’t practice enough.’”

A Time of Renewal, 83-84.

Resources: 

Get your favorite Ascension content sent right to your email!

>