What does the Transfiguration of the Lord teach us?

On August 13/26 the holy Orthodox Church celebrates
both the Leavetaking of the Feast of the Transfiguration
of the Lord and the great Russian bishop St. Tikhon of
Zadonsk. Thus we offer today a homily of the great
hierarch on the great feast.

You ask that I would tell you about the saving
actions of our Savior Jesus. Alright … It will be
good for us to study this. We are pilgrims, our homeland
is not on earth; the earth, as a journey, we pass through,
and all things earthly we abandon on earth, and with
oneness of soul we depart from here. For this sake and
about this we dream and take care that our soul is
healthy, and with it we permanently depart, and into our
homeland enter.

Our Savior, having told the apostles that He must suffer
and die in Jerusalem for our salvation, some time before
His suffering took with Him three apostles—Peter,
James, and John—and
lead them upon a high mountain, where before them He was
transfigured:
and His face was illumined as the sun, His garments were
white as light, and there appeared to them in glory the
two prophets Moses and Elijah with the Lord conversing.
Then they heard a voice from the cloud of light
overshadowing them: This is My beloved Son, in whom I
am well pleased; hear ye Him
(Mt. 17:2-5). The
apostles, hearing this voice, fell upon their faces, and
were exceedingly afeared.

Firstly, the Lord revealed to the apostles by this saving
action that He is the radiance of the Father, God and
Lord, and King of glory, although concealed in the humble
image of man: visibly He is as a Man, like unto any other,
but inwardly He is God. The apostles had earlier seen His
glory in miraculous deeds, but here they saw His glory
with their own eyes, when His face was revealed to them as
the sun, and His garments … as light,
as they bear witness: and we beheld His glory, the
glory as of the Only-Begotten of the Father
(Jn.
1:14). The glory of Christ was shown by His works, which
no one but God could do. But here His Divine glory visibly
appeared when His Divine face was illuminated as the sun,
and His garments shone as light, and to which the voice of
the Father testified.

Secondly, He showed that He goes of His own will to the
suffering of which He foretold. Having understood that He
is God, for Whom all things are possible, it is easy to
comprehend that His suffering is voluntary. For who can
persuade God to suffering, God Who is over all, and Whose
word the waves all obey? His indivisible love and grace
for us poor ones roused Him to it. He thereby exhorted the
apostles that they, having seen their Lord and Teacher
suffering, not be tempted, and not be afraid, and not lag
behind Him, knowing that He was willing to suffer, and any
kind of suffering. He was able to cease all evil actions
of His enemies but did not want to, for He wanted to
suffer through and endure everything that fallen man might
be saved.

Thirdly, the apostles, as they saw the Savior in glory, so
saw they the prophets having appeared, communicating in
that glory. From this it is clear that in eternal life the
glory of the saints will be like unto the glory of Christ:
they will be like unto Him … and see Him as He
is
(1 Jn. 3:2). Here shone the face of Christ like
the sun; then shall the righteous shine forth as the
sun in the kingdom of their Father
(Mt. 13:43), and
He shall change our vile body, that it may be
fashioned like unto his glorious body
(Phil. 3:21).

We also see what joy and sweetness there will be there.
Peter felt such joy and sweetness within himself, having
seen the glory of God, that he did not want to descend
from the mountain, but wanted to remain there: Then
answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for
us to be here
(Mt. 17:4). It was but a part of the
glory of God, as much as they were able to see, that they
saw, but into such joy and sweetness they entered; what
joy and gladness will be there, where the holy glory of
God will be manifest, where we will see God face to face!
(cf. 1 Cor. 13:12). But he who wants joy and to be a
partaker of this glory must have tribulations and to unite
his reproaches here to Christ. With Him (Christ) we
suffer, and with Him we will be glorified (Rm. 8:17), and
we must through much tribulation enter into the
kingdom of God
(Acts 14:22). You see that not simply
through tribulation, but through much tribulation must we
enter therein.

Fourth, this voice of the Father: This is My beloved
Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye
Him—
concerns not only the apostles, but all of
us. Then God proclaimed from the cloud to the apostles,
but through them this voice comes to us; to us God speaks:
This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased;
hear ye Him
! As many times as we read or hear His
holy Gospel, so many times we hear the voice of the Son of
God speaking to us, Who teaches us of nothing else but the
path to salvation, which all who want to receive it must
tread to the glory of God, revealed in part on the
mountain. And he who hearkens to the word of God does not
hearken to man, but to God Himself; and he who does not
hear the word of God and does not live according to the
word of God, the same man God, Who speaks through His
Word, does not hear. Let us listen to the Son of God, as
the Heavenly Father exhorts us, and having laid aside all
earthly cares, may every one take up his cross which will
be given by Him, and follow after Him that He may guide us
to His Heavenly Father; as we go so will we comprehend;
may we suffer with Him, yes and with Him be glorified; not
being ashamed to bear His reproach, and He will not be
ashamed of us when we He comes in His glory. Remember us O
Lord in Thy Kingdom!

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