The Issue of the Transfiguration
We have to look for the issue of it in the incident that immediately followed, as they came down from the mountain. It is full of truth; too full for exhausting at this time. They came down, and are met by this distracted father - distracted over his boy, whom (in the original language) he calls "my only begotten son"; his one boy. There are many emotional elements bound up with it, of course, which we can leave. But here is this father with his boy, distressed over the situation, and disappointed over the nine representatives of the Lord Jesus, the majority of His disciples whom He had left down below. He describes what is the matter with the boy, what happens to him, and tells the Lord that, although he had brought the boy to His disciples, they could not help him or do anything about it.
1. An Impotent Church
Here, surely, in the Holy Spirit's thought in giving these details, is the suggestion of an impotent church in the presence of this demon-driven humanity on the plain. It is representative of a condition in this world and in humanity. Would it be going to far to say that the description of this boy's trouble and how it affected him can be seen in counterpart in the world today? The world is under the domination of a power with which it cannot cope; a driving force, driving toward destruction; always driving toward self-destruction. It cannot help it; it is mastered by an evil power in this universe, driving, dominating, frustrating every effort; and in this scene of humanity's helplessness and need, a Church that does not know what to do with it, unable to cope.
That situation can be found in ten thousand things. We are all up against situations with which we cannot cope. Perhaps in your assembly, perhaps in your own family, perhaps in your own self, you meet with forces that are too much, driving; and it is always in the direction of self-destruction, of evil, of harm, of hurt, of injury; toward the fire and the water, to destroy and to quench. That is a good description of the evil work of the evil one in human life, and we have this small representation of it in this boy. Without indulging in unworthy criticism, and taking account of all the noble sacrifice and service and labor and toil of the servants of the Lord, we have, nevertheless, to say that the Lord's people, very largely and in a great many things, are impotent in the presence of these forces. The evil powers are holding the ground; they are defeating and defying every effort.
It is quite patent that those nine disciples had made an effort. "Why could not we cast it out?" They had evidently tried and failed. Their effort and labor was for nothing, and the enemy was laughing at them, holding his ground, while no doubt the critical world around was very pleased that these disciples were such poor expressions of their Lord, letting Him down like this.
What is the issue of the Transfiguration? Surely it is this, that there must be brought upon these situations an impact of the exalted and glorified Christ. It is a question of impact! When I use that word, I am quite sure you will say, Yes, that is what we need: that is what the Church needs; that is what local companies need; that is what I need in my own life - an impact upon situations, upon places. This is what happened later, did it not? These men who had come to understand the meaning of the Transfiguration; these men whose eyes had seen the King - Jesus, perfected, glorified, exalted, attested by Heaven - men who had seen His thus, went everywhere; and what an impact! Rarely, if ever, did hey fail to register on this earth, in the kingdom of satan.
(continued with # 6 - "2. The Impact of the Presence of the Lord Jesus")