The last Sunday in the season of Epiphany is named after the Transfiguration of Christ.

Transfiguration Sunday is February 23, 2020.

This is also Quinquagesima Sunday, 50 days before Easter.

What follow are readings for Year A in the three-year Lectionary used in public worship.

All the readings are about God’s magnificent, majestic manifestations to His people as well as a powerful one of Christ’s own glory in the Epistle and Gospel.

There are two Psalms from which to choose this week.

Emphases below are mine.

First reading

This is the dramatic story of God’s delivery of the Ten Commandments to Moses.

Exodus 24:12-18

24:12 The LORD said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain, and wait there; and I will give you the tablets of stone, with the law and the commandment, which I have written for their instruction.”

24:13 So Moses set out with his assistant Joshua, and Moses went up into the mountain of God.

24:14 To the elders he had said, “Wait here for us, until we come to you again; for Aaron and Hur are with you; whoever has a dispute may go to them.”

24:15 Then Moses went up on the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain.

24:16 The glory of the LORD settled on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days; on the seventh day he called to Moses out of the cloud.

24:17 Now the appearance of the glory of the LORD was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel.

24:18 Moses entered the cloud, and went up on the mountain. Moses was on the mountain for forty days and forty nights.

Psalm — first option

Although David’s establishment of his kingdom, according to God’s will, was controversial and fiercely opposed, he prevailed in the end. While this Psalm looks to be about his kingdom, Matthew Henry says that it prophesies Christ and His kingdom. Henry points out that, while all the verses apply to Christ, not all apply to David.

Psalm 2

2:1 Why do the nations conspire, and the peoples plot in vain?

2:2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and his anointed, saying,

2:3 “Let us burst their bonds asunder, and cast their cords from us.”

2:4 He who sits in the heavens laughs; the LORD has them in derision.

2:5 Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying,

2:6 “I have set my king on Zion, my holy hill.”

2:7 I will tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to me, “You are my son; today I have begotten you.

2:8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession.

2:9 You shall break them with a rod of iron, and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”

2:10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth.

2:11 Serve the LORD with fear, with trembling kiss his feet, or he will be angry, and you will perish in the way; for his wrath is quickly kindled. Happy are all who take refuge in him.

Psalm — second option

This Psalm exhorts the faithful to worship God, for He reigns over all. How much more reason we have to do so, knowing that He sent His Son Jesus Christ to Earth to deliver us from sin and give us life eternal.

Psalm 99

99:1 The LORD is king; let the peoples tremble! He sits enthroned upon the cherubim; let the earth quake!

99:2 The LORD is great in Zion; he is exalted over all the peoples.

99:3 Let them praise your great and awesome name. Holy is he!

99:4 Mighty King, lover of justice, you have established equity; you have executed justice and righteousness in Jacob.

99:5 Extol the LORD our God; worship at his footstool. Holy is he!

99:6 Moses and Aaron were among his priests, Samuel also was among those who called on his name. They cried to the LORD, and he answered them.

99:7 He spoke to them in the pillar of cloud; they kept his decrees, and the statutes that he gave them.

99:8 O LORD our God, you answered them; you were a forgiving God to them, but an avenger of their wrongdoings.

99:9 Extol the LORD our God, and worship at his holy mountain; for the LORD our God is holy.

Epistle

Peter recounts his experience as one of the three Apostles to see the Transfiguration. Note verse 16, in particular.

2 Peter 1:16-21

1:16 For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty.

1:17 For he received honor and glory from God the Father when that voice was conveyed to him by the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, my Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”

1:18 We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven, while we were with him on the holy mountain.

1:19 So we have the prophetic message more fully confirmed. You will do well to be attentive to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.

1:20 First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation,

1:21 because no prophecy ever came by human will, but men and women moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

Gospel

This reading needs no introduction. I cannot imagine what it must have been like to be Peter, James and John on that mountain, especially as they could speak to no one about it until after the Resurrection (verse 9). That Jesus would rise from the dead was something that they could not fully comprehend at the time.

Matthew 17:1-9

17:1 Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves.

17:2 And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white.

17:3 Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him.

17:4 Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”

17:5 While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!”

17:6 When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear.

17:7 But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Get up and do not be afraid.”

17:8 And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone.

17:9 As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, “Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”

I hope there are some excellent sermons tomorrow. There is much to preach about regarding what the Apostles understood of Jesus’s ministry at the time of the Transfiguration. Peter wanted to stay with heavenly company. I would have felt the same way. However, Jesus had much more to accomplish. Yet, He chose His best and brightest to whom to reveal His true nature accompanied by a very personal message from His Father.

Lent starts next week. Shrovetide — comprising the ‘-gesima’ Sundays — ends on Shrove Tuesday, February 25. Ash Wednesday is February 26.