Matthew begins “Six days later”: six days after Peter’s confession and Jesus’ pivot to warning his disciples about his coming passion. This narrative of “the Transfiguration” might take us in many directions; here are two.
The same Jesus whose face is shining like the sun will undergo great suffering. We might think that the one excluded the other; we might wonder about recalibrating our ideas of how glory and honor work.
The Jewish disciples know Moses and Elijah, and are still trying to puzzle out Jesus. The heavenly voice’s “listen to him” suggests that Jesus properly interprets Moses and Elijah. We Gentile disciples aren’t worried about Moses and Elijah, but have our own set of authorities who jealously guard their turf: Mars (war, national security), Pluto (wealth, the economy), Venus (beauty), etc. And the heavenly voice’s “listen to him” is telling us how to and when to listen to them?
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers– all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Col. 1:15-17).