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.”
How strange. After the brightly-lit meeting on the mountain with Moses and Elijah, Jesus orders the disciples not to say a word about this until after he is raised from the dead. What an odd command. Why are they free to tell the story after the resurrection, but not before?
Jesus is revealing something truly revolutionary here. Only when we see life through the eyes of the Crucified One can we see reality clearly. Until then we’re stuck inside a broken narrative that needs a new interpreter. Only the Crucified One can reveal what Moses (The Law) and Elijah (The Prophets) have been trying to tell us. It is the Crucified One who reveals that which has been “hidden since the foundation of the world” (Matt. 13:35).
Of course, the problem with crucified ones throughout history is that they don’t get to tell their side of the story. History is told by winners, not the losers – until, that is, Jesus is resurrected. In the resurrection Jesus comes to us as the greatest loser in history. The Crucified One re-narrates all of life – from below. In doing so, He tells for us a story that we can’t quite tell for ourselves. He re-tells the ancient tales of Israel and our hearts burn within us to hear them as liberating rather than damning. In the retelling – in the new light of resurrection – the Law and the Prophets reveal God’s desire for “mercy, not sacrifice.” The hard-to-see truth is revealed; God is not mad. All is forgiven. We are God’s beloved with whom God is well pleased (Matt. 17:5). We are free to shout it from the mountain top.
At Street Psalms we are learning to see life through the eyes of the Crucified One. We are learning to read Scripture with the damned. We are learning to see Church through the eyes of the vulnerable. The crucified ones of this world are helping us re-narrate the Law and the words of the Prophets to reclaim a Gospel of grace, mercy, and peace in a violent world.
Next week we enter Lent. It is the annual journey into the resurrection by way of the cross. It is the sober reminder to the world-wide church that we do well to remain silent until spoken to by the Crucified One. This is the authority we so desperately desire today.
Photo: Michele Clemo, Jesus the Homeless statue