As an under graduate student I remember having my first encounter with people who really knew Jesus. It was challenging, because I knew that they had something I didn’t possess and that puzzled me. They looked different and they behaved differently. It was in my post-graduate year that I encountered Jesus for myself through a mighty move of God’s Holy Spirit that swept across University campuses the length and breadth of the land. My twin sister came to faith at the same time as well as many of my friends. Only then did I truly realise that those people I had kept meeting were different because Jesus was shining out of them.
The Bible is littered with wonderful examples where people are transformed or ‘transfigured’ through a life changing encounter with God.
In our readings we learn of the transformation that took place with Moses and with Jesus himself. Moses encounters God and his face is gloriously transformed. Jesus has an encounter with his heavenly father and his whole human body is transformed. Luke describes it as being dazzling white.
The words that his father speaks to him are very significant: ‘This is my Son, my chosen one. Listen to him’. When we listen to God and respond to Him, we are always changed, but it’s a decision we need to make. God does not force us. He displays his character to us across the generations and invites us into a life changing, life transforming relationship with Him. And when we decide to ‘listen to Him’ and respond to his invitation, his promise is that things change, and where God is involved, they will always change for the better.
St Paul in his letter to the church in Corinth states that for those who have given their lives to Christ; ‘the old has gone, the new has come.’ (2Cor.5:17) but it gets even better, because when we listen to Jesus and accept him as God’s son and place our trust in him, the Bible tells us that we receive a new identity and a new name that describes the transformation of character that has taken place. Here are just a few of them: Precious – Is.43:4, Chosen, Holy, Loved – Col.3:12, Forgiven – Col.2:13, Unashamed – Rom.10:11, Complete – Col.2:10, Christ’s friend – Jn.15:15 God’s child – Rom.8:15
I encourage you to spend some time thinking carefully over these wonderful truths. Ask God to help reveal the transforming, transfiguring nature of these truths to you. Responding to God and listening to his son Jesus makes all the difference in our lives. ‘Living Life with God’ is an adventure. The more we find out about Him, the more exciting it gets.
With the Lord’s blessing,
Rev Dave Clark
Vicar of the Benefice of Upper Wensleydale