Mark 9:2-10 | 2nd Sunday of Lent, Year B
Would Jesus Have Wanted the Transfiguration on Instagram?
We only share the clean corners in our homes on social media posts, never the cat-hair covered sofa littered with popcorn. So, when you share that perfect photo, I imagine your house looks like that all the time. That’s kind of Peter’s mindset at the Transfiguration. He saw a very visual display of Jesus’s divinity illuminated by the Spirit. Naturally, Peter wanted to press pause. That’s how he wanted to remember Jesus—when everything was perfect and Jesus was covered in glory. The Transfiguration would have been a great social media shot.
But just like the newly upholstered chair I put on Instagram sits next to my cat hair-covered sofa (which is definitely not in the post), Jesus’s whole life was not the Transfiguration. And, I don’t think Jesus would have wanted the Transfiguration posted anyway. He gave Peter, James, and John (v. 9) explicit instructions not to talk about what they had seen. He didn’t want His glory revealed, not yet anyway.
Just last week, the gospel reading reminded us of Jesus’s very real humanity with His temptations in the desert. Apparently, Jesus did want people to know about that experience, because as He was the only human there, the gospel authors could have only written of that time if He shared it. Jesus wanted His disciples to understand that His life was full of struggle and even despair. The true glory comes later.
Even though we know the gory details of Jesus’s death, we tend to think He had it pretty easy. Yes, He suffered big-time, but He was perfect. He knew He’d never fail. He knew God was on His side. That’s not us, we think. We’re not perfect. We know we will fail, we just don’t know how badly. We have doubts. There are times we’re not one-hundred percent sure God is on our side, and we’re often uncertain whether we’re doing the right thing.
Actually, even though Jesus was sinless, He wanted us to understand He still struggled. He still had to make repeated daily decisions to turn back to God. He wanted us to know His life was not a thirty-three year-long Instagram-worthy post. And we shouldn’t expect ours to be either. He came to earth to as a model for us, and the only model worth having is one who has gotten dirty in the same struggles.
We will doubt. We will struggle. We will fail. Sure, there’s also glory and satisfaction, but that’s meant to be short-lived. A new hurdle always reveals itself. That’s because we’re still here, still on earth. The Kingdom hasn’t been fully realized yet. So, when things aren’t going quite right, aren’t worthy of a social media post, it doesn’t mean God isn’t there in it. On the contrary, God is in it all, even when (or maybe especially when) things aren’t easy or fun. Jesus’s example should remind us of that, no social media post needed.