February 7, 2016
There are many ways in which people are made known. In events and celebrations such as baptism a baby is made known and welcomed into Christianity; in a birthday celebration age becomes an indicator of God’s faithfulness; in a wedding ceremony the couple is proclaimed as one; and in a necrological service all the good qualities and attributes of a person are talked about.
Having seen in previous weeks how the Holy Spirit, the children, the prophets, the outsiders, and Simeon and Ana made Jesus known, now in the Gospel reading for this fifth and last Sunday of Epiphany we see how the Heavenly Father made Him known. Shortly before this Jesus had sent out the apostles to preach the kingdom of God and heal the sick. Then He fed the five thousand, and later received Peter’s confession that He was the Christ. After these things Jesus, together with His closest disciples, went up on a mountain to pray.
It was not an easy way of communing with God. Symbolically, every step He took was dedicated to reaching the highest and most perfect place of worship to the Father. As He prayed, the presence of God glorified His physical appearance (Luke 9:29), reminding us of both Moses and Elijah on Mt. Sinai (Exodus 34:35, 1 Kings 19:15), who were each encouraged and given their mission in these mountaintop experiences.
The mountain was their place of comfort as they experienced discouragement. Moses had withdrawn into the desert to shepherd Jethro’s flocks for forty years (Exodus 3:1), and later ascended the mountain amidst the heavy complaints and disputes of the Israelites in the desert (Exodus 18:16). Elijah fled to the same mountain when the Israelites rejected God's covenant (1 Kings 19: 3, 10). Perhaps Jesus, in the same way, sought divine encouragement as the days were approaching for Him to fulfil His mission on the cross. He brought with Him His closest friends, those whom He had chosen for extending His ministry on earth.
He appealed to His Father in prayer, and the Father's reply was, "This is my Son, whom have I chosen; listen to Him." He was the Son sent to fulfil His Father's mission: the salvation of the world and mankind. It was a mission that had to be accomplished through complete obedience. God sent Moses and Elijah to confirm for Jesus that He was going in the right direction, and to encourage Him not to be carried away by feelings and emotions, as they had been, causing them to fall short in their missions.
Just like Moses and Elijah, we sometimes felt discouraged in life. Yet we must not run nor hide, but be bold in facing our challenges through Christ Jesus, who conquered discouragement by knowing the Father and making Him known. Therefore, let us continue the ministry of our Lord Jesus, learning His ways and continuing His cause.