Jesus took Peter, John, and James
and went up the mountain to pray.
While he was praying his face changed in appearance
and his clothing became dazzling white.
And behold, two men were conversing with him, Moses and Elijah,
who appeared in glory and spoke of his exodus
that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem.
Peter and his companions had been overcome by sleep,
but becoming fully awake,
they saw his glory and the two men standing with him.
As they were about to part from him, Peter said to Jesus,
“Master, it is good that we are here;
let us make three tents,
one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
But he did not know what he was saying.
While he was still speaking,
a cloud came and cast a shadow over them,
and they became frightened when they entered the cloud.
Then from the cloud came a voice that said,
“This is my chosen Son; listen to him.”
After the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone.
They fell silent and did not at that time
tell anyone what they had seen.
Today’s Gospel reading fills me with wonder and awe.
Imagine if you had been there, waking up from sleep and seeing our Lord Jesus Christ transfigured — His face “changed in appearance,” His clothing now “dazzling white” — and conversing with two long-departed men, Moses and Elijah! Visual evidence that there is life after death.
Then, to top it all, you hear a voice from the cloud saying, “This is my chosen Son; listen to him.”
This is my Son.
Therein lies the difference between Christians on the one hand, and Muslims and Jews on the other.
Christians believe in the Triune Godhead: Three Persons in One God, evidence and accounts of which can be found throughout the Gospels (Luke 1:35, Mark 1:9-11, Matthew 28:19, John 14:26, 1 John 5:6-8, John 10:30, Colossians 2:9). In the words of 1 John 5:8:
For there are three that bear record in heaven,
the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost:
and these three are one.
Rick Warren, founder and pastor of the evangelical Saddleback Church, has been accused of promoting Chrislam — a movement that claims Christians and Muslims worship the same God. But in a 2012 interview, Warren made clear he believes Christianity is not Islam. In response to the question “Do people of other religions worship the same God as Christians?,” Warren said:
“Of course not. Christians have a view of God that is unique. We believe Jesus is God! We believe God is a Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Not 3 separate gods but one God. No other faith believes Jesus is God. My God is Jesus. The belief in God as a Trinity is the foundational difference between Christians and everyone else….
First…Christians have a fundamentally different view of God than Muslims. We worship Jesus as God. Muslims don’t. Our God is Jesus, not Allah. Colossians 2:9 “For in Christ dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” Second, while we urge our members to build friendships with everyone in our community, including Muslims and other faiths, (“Love your neighbor as yourself”), our church has never had any partnership with a mosque. Friendship and partnership are two very different levels of commitment.
As for Pope Francis, I am critical about him for many reasons, but reports of him kissing the Koran and proclaiming that Jesus and Allah are the same deity are simply not true. Those reports stem from a hoax website with a deceptive URL washingtonpost.com.co, pretending to be The Washington Post newspaper. (See “Did Pope Francis really say the Bible and Koran are the same?“)
Where I do have a problem with Pope Francis is in his view and policy toward Jews.
On December 10, 2015, as reported by NBC News, the Vatican’s Commission for Religious Relations with Jews issued a major new document pronouncing that God had never annulled his covenant with the Jewish people, and so Catholics should not try to convert Jews: “The Church is therefore obliged to view evangelization to Jews, who believe in the one God, in a different manner from that to people of other religions and world views.”
But in proclaiming that God had never annulled his covenant with the Jewish people, the Vatican under Pope Francis directly contravenes the Scriptures:
“This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my Blood, which will be shed for you.” -Luke 22:20
“In speaking of a new covenant, He makes the first one obsolete.” -Hebrews 8:13
Jews believe in the same one God as Christians? Really?
The Talmud is the central text of Rabbinic Judaism and the basis for all codes of Jewish law. It contains the teachings and opinions of thousands of rabbis, from before the Christian Era through the fifth century CE.
Does Pope Francis not know that the Talmud teaches the vilest things about the Second Person of the Trinity — that Jesus was a bastard, a fool, a conjurer and a seducer, who was conceived during menstruation (primitive peoples regard menstruation and a woman in menses as unclean), was crucified, buried in hell, and set up as an idol by his followers? (See Rev. I.B. Pranaitis, The Talmud Unmasked: The Secret Rabbinical Teachings Concerning Christians)
Israel Meir Lau, Chief Rabbi of Israel from 1993 to 2003, said that “Crucifixes are an insult to Jews. The cross is against the Jewish religion and the sight of the cross is forbidden for a Jew.” Francis is so afraid of offending Jews that he concealed the pectoral cross, a part of a pope’s uniform, inside his waist sash. (See “Pope Francis is ashamed of the Cross, knows better than the Gospels“)
May the joy and peace and love of Jesus Christ our Lord be with you!