Tuesday, February 3, 2015
Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and led them up on a high mountain apart by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. His clothes became shining, exceedingly white, like snow, such as no launderer on earth can whiten them.—Mark 9:2–3
The miracle of the Transfiguration wasn’t that Jesus shined like the sun; the miracle was that He didn’t shine like the sun all the time. When Jesus came to Earth, He never gave up His deity. But we might say that He shrouded His glory and laid aside the privileges of His deity.
Jesus Christ is God. He is a member of the Trinity, coequal and coeternal with the Father and with the Holy Spirit. Jesus was God before He was born, and He remained God after He became man. His deity was prehuman, pre-Mary, and pre-Bethlehem.
Jesus laid aside not His deity, but the privileges of deity, to model what it is to be a servant. Paul told the believers in Philippi, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:5–7).
We are to follow His example. If Jesus could lay aside the privileges of divinity, then how much more should we, as human beings with sinful hearts, be willing to put the needs of others above ourselves?
This isn’t easy. In fact, we could say that it’s virtually impossible—apart from the power of the Spirit. This is not so much about imitation as much as it is about impartation—Christ Himself living in us and giving us His love and power. It’s the only way we can put the needs of another person above our own, love people whom we really don’t like all that much, or effectively die to ourselves. It seems impossible. But this is the way God has called us to live.