Step I - (Initial) Acquaintance
A. Comparison of English or other published translations
· "transfigured" vs. "Jesus' appearance changed" (NLT)
· what does it mean to be transfigured/changed
· what kind of change is it
· transfiguration as a special, specific kind of change
· tabernacle vs. shelter (NIV), shrines (NLT), booths (RSV), dwellings (NRSV),
memorials (Message) or tents (original language?)
· place of worship vs. place to live vs. place of safety
· which is most important at this time?
· tents - dwelling place for those who cared for altar?
B. Greek/Hebrew Textual Criticism
· singular form of tent vs. plural (three)?
· assimilated by scribes to plural found in parallel accounts (Mark 9:5, Luke
· does it make a difference to have them all in the same/one tent?
C. One's Own Rough Translation
Step II - Disposition
A. Genre - How the text says what it says
- Matthew's three epiphanies - Christophanies
- Jesus comes to disciples again (like resurrection scene in ch. 28 or
sea of Galillee scene in ch. 14
- Something different about Jesus
- Jesus came to them
B. Personal Interaction - Questions and observations
- where are we most comfortable?
- Simply existing - dwelling
- In special orientation to God - worship
- Out of danger - safety
- Does this whole business of what Peter plans to build say more
about the builder or the occupant?
- What is different about Jesus that is made clear in the Christophanies
- Are these differences bad news or good news?
- Danger of comparing ourselves to Christ, jumping to conclusion
that Christ is like us and we are like Christ
- What is the difference between us coming to Jesus and Jesus
coming to us?
- Why does Jesus keep coming back?
- Why is this whole thing such a secret?
C. Organization - Where the elements of "B" are located
- Where do we reside
- Is our place of residency (safety, security, worship, the past
[memorial]) a secret
- Threes - three tents, three epiphanies/Christophanies - Trinitarian idea?
Step III - Composition
A. Immediate Context - preceding/following pericope
- Before - Peter's confession
- Jesus foretelling his death and resurrection
- After - Jesus heals the demon-possessed boy
- Another prediction of death and resurrection (v. 22)
B. Organization of the Compositional Whole
- Second of three Christophanies
- 1 - Sea of Galilee (ch. 14)
- 2 - Transfiguration (ch. 17)
- 3 - Post-resurrection (ch. 28)
- Theophany vs. Epiphany vs. Christophany
F. Issues of Authorship
Step IV - Context
A. Primitive Christianity
- dazzling white/face shining - see this same kind of language in
- "touching" brings healing, life
B. Old Testament and Judaism
- Exodus language?
- Mountaintop - coming down
- Shining face as result of encounter with God
E. Hellenistic World
Step V - Distillation
A. Summary of Salient Features
- Building program interrupted by "beholding" of shining cloud, voice from
- Never mentioned again in this story
- Fell upon face, afraid
- Jesus comes to them and touches them
- Then simply on the way down, without any discussion of
"what about the tents?"
- Is this a relocation of the project?
- Build among people/down from mountaintop instead of exclusive
- Jesus' return to the valley to minister to human need
- Perhaps our call to move ministry outside the walls of the
- Yet, let's not move too hastily
- Affirmations not so much about us but about Jesus
- Christ is like us, and so he will return to valley to help
- Christ is not like us, and so he is the only one who can help
- Maybe that's why it was a secret
B. Smooth Translation
B. Hermeneutical Bridge
- Where we build (mountaintop, valley)
- What we build (shelter, tabernacle, memorial, tent)
- Implications for mission/orientation to God
- How we build
- Us - imperfectly
- Christ - differently
Step VI - Contemporary Address
A. Description of Audience
- Local UMC congregation that is in process of building
B. Intended Goals for the Address
- Who is Jesus and why is it important (that he is different from us)