On the mountain

Six days after Jesus had spoken to his disciples about his death, he took Peter, James and James’ brother John, and led them up a high mountain. They were all alone, but as the three disciples watched Jesus, he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as light. Then Moses and Elijah appeared and began speaking to Jesus.

“Lord,” said Peter, “it’s wonderful to be here. Would you like me to build three shelters – one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah?”

But even as he spoke, a bright cloud overshadowed them. Then a voice came from the cloud saying, “This is my beloved Son. With him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”

At this, the disciples were terrified and fell with their faces to the ground. But Jesus came over and touched them.

“You can get up now,” he said. “There’s no need to be afraid.”

And when they looked up, Moses and Elijah had gone, and only Jesus remained.

As they walked back down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, “Don’t tell anyone what you’ve seen until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”

“But why do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?”

“Because it’s true,” said Jesus. “But, actually, Elijah has already come, but they didn’t recognize him. In fact, they treated him shamefully. And soon they’ll treat the Son of Man in just the same way.” It was then the disciples realized that Jesus was speaking to them about John the Baptist.

When Jesus and the three disciples arrived at the foot of the mountain, a large crowd was waiting for them. A man came out of the crowd and knelt before Jesus.

“Lord,” he said, “please have mercy on my son. He has seizures and is suffering terribly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. I brought him to your disciples, but they were unable to help him.”

“You disappointing, faithless people!” said Jesus, looking straight at his disciples. “How long must I stay with you? How long do I need to support you? Bring the boy to me!” Then Jesus rebuked the demon. It came out of the boy and he was instantly healed.

Afterward the disciples came to Jesus privately.

“Why couldn’t we cast out the demon?” they asked.

“Because you haven’t got enough faith,” he said. “Honestly, if your faith was even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. And nothing would be impossible for you.”

They regrouped again in Galilee, and Jesus told them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of his enemies. He’ll be killed, but on the third day he’ll be raised to life.”

And the disciples were filled with grief.

Matthew

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