Now we turn to look at the matter of Jesus’ clothes. This marks the beginning of the focus on GLORY. God’s glory! It’s begun in a very unique way, by talking about Jesus’ clothes being whiter than white. Let’s stack up the comments made by the gospel writers.
- Luke writes His clothing became white and gleaming.
- Mark writes His garments became radiant and exceedingly white, as no launderer on earth can whiten them.
- Matthew writes His garments became white as light.
That reminds me of the old Persil ads which claim Persil gets clothes whiter than white. Well that is a surprise. I didn’t realize that Persil had been around so long. It seems it was present back in the time Jesus walking the earth. It also reminds me a song by Annie Herring (Second Chapter of Acts – and I don’t mean the Acts 2) – “Which way’s the light coming from, that’s the way I wanna go. No turning left, no turning right for me.”
What is happening here? Were Jesus’ clothes remarkably white? How do you get things whiter than white? Does it have anything to do with where Jesus had his laundry done? No! This event is called the Transfiguration. It is clear why it has been given that name. Jesus was transformed by the glory of God as the disciples looked on. They had been sleeping but as Luke says they were now fully awake. I am not surprised. Maybe they were woken by the intense light shining all around. The whiteness of His clothes really has nothing to do with it. Luke starts by saying, While He was praying the appearance of His face became different. Such that the end result was His clothing became white and gleaming. Question: Did Jesus’ clothing change first and then His face changed? That would indicate it was a change that happened outward to inward. No, Luke’s order is face then clothes. The clothes didn’t change first and then His face. It was the other way around. Matthew gives us the clue. His garment became as light. But first His face shone like the sun. People when your face is shining like the sun it changes everything about you. The intensity of light is so extreme that you couldn’t look upon Him without protective eyewear.
Does this remind you long term Gem readers of anything? Those who have been with me a long time?
“Dwelt among us” is a deep very significant word. Some versions have “tabernacled” among us, in the MSG Eugene Peterson translated it “moved into the neighbourhood”. I think if I wrote an English version of the Scriptures the Vail Version (VV) would read pitched His tent among us. This word is taken out of the tradition of the Feast of Tabernacles from the Old Testament and is the one used for them tabernacling in the fields. They built their lean to, their bivvy, their pondok in the fields to celebrate the Lords provision. Wow what about the provision of His Son. The Son of God, the Son of Man come to earth. He dwelt among us. Why? So that we might see His glory. So that we might have Him near. He is the God who came near. Who came to show Himself.
It makes me think of when Tania and I were home in New Zealand and Riss and Josh’s house was too crowded for us to spread out on the lounge floor, especially so for a whole month. So we hired a caravan and made that our bedroom for the duration. Jaeden and Vaeh (the grandkids – for those of you who don’t really know us yet. You can see photos on Facebook) were so excited. They were busting themselves to come out in the mornings and bring story books and lie in bed with Gran and Poppa and snuggle. We were in the neighbourhood. We had pitched our “tent” in their front yard. The excitement was almost touchable. Transfer that excitement to human kind in response to God coming close. We ought to be ecstatic but John said some of his creatures rejected him.
I used to think the significance of this verse was in the temporariness of the coming. Like the temporary dwellings in the fields during the Feast of Tabernacles. No, the significance and the excitement is in the availability of Creator God among us. WOOOOOOOW to that.
But there is more to this verse. I think I will be focused on this verse for a while yet. No, I won’t handle the grace and truth element this time around.
Do you see a connection to what is going to follow in this section of Luke’s account of the Transfiguration? Huge things happened at the Transfiguration. I believe Jesus clothes were purely incidental. His clothes were just white, shining like light, because He happened to have clothes on. The source was from within. It was an inside out change; not an outside in change. His glorified body shone through His clothes. His whole body took on the intensity of His face and His body made His clothes seem translucent. It is like I have said numbers of times in different places related to the Glory of God seen on Moses face. If Moses could only see the afterglow of God’s glory to protect him from being fried and if that afterglow was enough to make the Israelites hide their face from the intensity, what does that say about the Glory of God? Do you see now why Matthew says His face was like the sun. Do you see now why I say they were probably woken up by the intense light.
Do you see now why one of the men on the mountain with Jesus was Moses?
But the question remains as to why Elijah was there?
The Transfiguration was a BIG event. A moment like Rutherford found when he split the atom. Going smaller and smaller until something huge was released. There is a lot packed into this Transfiguration story.
Continuing story in the next Gem.
A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell.C S Lewis
Humility is nothing but the disappearance of self in the vision that God is all.Andrew Murray
He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.Albert Einstein
If Moses could only see the afterglow of God’s glory and if that afterglow was enough to make the Israelites hide their face from the intensity, what does that say about the full Glory of God?Ian Vail