In regards to this question, it seems we have many options. We could tell of this Transfiguration, but Jesus says not to. We could tell of Jesus healing people, but Jesus says not to. We could tell about people Jesus has raised from the dead, or how He made our lives better, or even how He makes us happy.
But Jesus says,
“Tell no one the vision, until the Son of Man is raised from the dead.”
Indeed, O man. Hold your tongue. Do not babble about useless and transient things such as miracles or emotions, because God is speaking. God will give us the words to say and these are they:
“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”
Jesus speaks in His Word and no where else. Any visions you have will conform to the Inspired Word of God. Any whispers God gives to your hearts, will have already been spoken and written down in Holy Scripture. Any gift or revelation or vision will come from the Holy Ghost, Who only speaks of Jesus.
Yet, there are some who say that you must experience the gift of the spirit. That it can not be simply a doctrine you cling to, but a life changing event that you must show evidence of, by having a heart of praise and obedience.
Sts. Peter, James, and John had this experience; praised and obeyed Jesus on the mount of Transfiguration; and Jesus silenced them.
The problem with experience is that it is subjective. It is true for one person, but not necessarily for the next. The bigger problem with experience and “achieving” gifts of the Spirit, is that it replaces what Christ has done in His death and resurrection.
For what is the point of gaining gifts of the Spirit? So you can use them for the greater good of all, right (1 Cor.12:7)? No, the gaining of these special power gifts is always for the sake of one’s self. Not just to help you face your “goliaths” in life, but just in case you need to tell the Good News in a powerful way.
When you violently seeks to gain holy gifts by your sheer force of will, it is only for yourself and your “deeper walk” with God. Although, when you pit your will against the Almighty, there is only one thing that you will find and it ain’t gonna be heaven.
Repent. Why is it that you need something else in your life? Why is it that there has to be something more than Jesus or something after Jesus? Why can’t you just be content that the Lord and God of all creation has revealed Himself to you in order to save you?
The Epiphany season is here for this one simple reason: to show you Jesus Christ. Jesus is all God and all man, using all of His power and might to redeem you by His Word. The Transfiguration ends the season to reveal to us that the real, true, and only gift of the Spirit is the Word of God.
Contrary to the gaining, achieving, or enabling gifts, the Word of God is objective. Objective is the antonym of subjective, meaning that if subjective has everything to do with the private individual, then objective has everything not to do with that.
Being objective means that it does not depend on the person, place, thing, or emotion that something is spoken to; it depends on the speaker. Since the Word of God is objective, that means that no amount of work (grace-infused or otherwise) is going to help you get to it. It has to be given, or rather, it must be spoken to you.
Transfiguration reveals this by showing off the chosen three disciples. They get to see the glory of the kingdom of God. They get to have a unique experience that puts them above every other Christian on the planet. Their personal experience and our personal experience tells us that we need to either be like them or ask them to give us that thing.
Instead, dear Christians, Jesus says, “Let’s go”. Your experience of Christianity or the gifts of the Spirit is not where you are to stay; nor is it what is important in the life of one redeemed by Christ. What is important is that the Word of God is speaking to you today of Christ crucified for you and you believe it.
This belief is a gift. With this gift, you understand tongues; meaning you understand when God Himself speaks to you and declares you objectively justified. With this gift, you understand spirits; meaning you hear and believe when the Holy Ghost talks about Jesus to you. You also understand prophesy; meaning you see and taste the Word of God fulfilled right in front of you, for the forgiveness of sins.
From outside of you, Christ works His salvation out upon the cross. From outside of you, Jesus creates His Church in order to lavish gifts of life, forgiveness, and salvation upon Her. Objectively, the Word is spoken to you and you believe, as St. Peter tells us,
“…we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation.”
Better than the 6 days of creation; better than all of the adventures and visions of the Old Testament; better than actually being there to witness every miraculous event in Jesus’ life and better than every single amazing gift listed in the New Testament is the Word, now more fully confirmed to us today, in the Resurrection. (Phil.3:8)
For the objective Word of God is the greatest power in the entire universe. It spoke all things into being; it appeared to the prophets of old; it became flesh and dwelt among us and it binds up fallen creation and destroys sin, death, and the devil for you.
You may have individual gifts of the Holy Ghost; there is no denying these things because the Word of God tells us so. But the real gift; the real power comes in these things: that in faith, you can remain as a son or daughter and it is a holy work. That, in faith, you can be a husband or a father and find strength outside of your own self, to do your duty.
These seemingly small gifts do not come with popularity or fanfare. In fact, these and others, are the first to be trampled on by the world, because it is easy to do. Honor your father and mother? Bah, what have they ever done for you? Cling to your wife as one flesh? She doesn’t deserve me.
Believe and be baptized? Keep the Word of God and believe? Eat and drink for the forgiveness of sins? All are disdained and yet the Lord chooses to use these means of Grace. The Holy Spirit enlightens us with these gifts and they are cast aside by unbelief.
However, having nothing to do with our say-so, our thoughts or opinions, or our feelings; Jesus says so and it IS so. Jesus speaks and, having been called by the Gospel, we believe. Though water, word, and bread and wine are insignificant in the world’s eyes, they have now become everything to the Christian, for Jesus speaks.
He promises salvation here and we know because of His Word. It is there, in the Word of God and either we believe, by the gift of the Spirit, or we do not, by the gift of the devil. When it comes down to it, the mother that loves her child; the wife that loves her husband; and the employee doing exceptional work, because Jesus has saved them from sin, do a more holy work than any prophet, tongue speaker, or faith healer has ever done.
For THE most holy work the Christian does is to receive what the Lord comes to give Him.