THE TRANSFORMATION OF JESUS AND THE TRANSFORMATION OF CHRISTIANS
By Edward Ho
The transformation of Jesus reminds me of a popular Chinese New Year greeting, “All is back to the beginning and everything a new transformation.” This greeting has inspired determination by many Chinese to “be a new person” in morals and lifestyle. The transformation of Jesus convinces me that Jesus can best help us to “be a new person.” The life of Jesus declares to the world concrete details of how to be a new person.

The inspired Apostle Peter might be best qualified to speak about how can Jesus help us to be a new person. Upon the mountain, surrounded by the glorious light of Jesus’ transformation, Peter was thrilled. What an honor to be with Jesus and the two great prophets! So Peter can not help asking Jesus, “Can I make three buildings for you?”

To Peter’s utter amazement, God spoke. “This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased. You ought to listen to Him.” God did not endorse Peter’s suggestion of “building a religious shrine,” leaving a monument for the recording of this incredible miracle. God wants Peter to just listen to Jesus. Why? Because for transformation to come into people’s lives, only the life and work of Jesus will do. Even a great miracle from God will not accomplish that task. God did not choose miracles in His salvation plan. Instead, He sent his Son. He knows it takes the living examples of Jesus for mankind to be saved from sins and to be new people.

God wants Peter just to listen to Jesus. What did Jesus ask Peter to do after the transformation? To go down to the mountain and return to the people, and continue to learn how to spread the Good News by Jesus’ side. Peter listened to the word of God from Jesus daily. He saw the life of God from Jesus’ behavior. He saw the holy lifestyle from Jesus’ daily interaction with God and with people. Gradually, Peter understood the power and wisdom of God’s salvation in the examples that Jesus left daily.

The eternal wellbeing of mankind lies not in material abundance but in trust in Jesus’ salvation. What enables us to leave the shackle of sins and to gain the life of God is not to witness the miracle of God but to follow the footsteps of Jesus. Therefore, after the death and resurrection of Jesus, Peter did not return to his fisherman career. He began to spread the good news of Jesus’ salvation and his transformation of mankind.

Perhaps the best testimony to the Good News of Jesus is the transformation of the Apostle himself. Peter used to believe only in himself. Later he trusted in Jesus in everything. People used to see Peter’s careless lifestyle, but later they saw in him a holy life. Once a combatant character, Peter became forgiving and submissive. Peter used to be an uneducated person, but later people obtained knowledge of God from him. If Peter was once a self-centered husband, he came to respect his wife and care for her needs. Peter denied Jesus due to fear of death, while later he was more than willing to die for Jesus and His gospel.

All who knew Peter would be surprised and envious of his transformation. Peter knew that his change was caused not by witnessing Jesus’ miracles but by his obedience to Jesus’ teaching and walking in his footsteps. Peter was convinced that only Jesus can transform people, and that only the repentant lives of Christians can encourage one generation after another to trust and obey Jesus.

Dear listeners, Peter’s experience of the transformation of Jesus offers us, the Chinese people, an important inspiration. Today, there are idol-worship activities throughout China. Lots of Chinese go to popular temples and think that their prayers might have a better chance to be answered there. Although we know that idol-worship defies God’s truth, our effort to encourage people to abandon such religious practice might come short if we simply preach to them. To convince them to come to believe in the only true God will take the transformation of our lives as shown in our careful obedience to the teachings of Jesus.

Our hope for more Chinese come to Christ can be fulfilled. But, it will not be enough to just talk about the miracles of Jesus such as His Transformation. More witnesses of the transformation of our lifestyle and our characters are needed. Remember the famous saying of Jesus, “if any one wishes to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” May today be a new beginning for you and me, in that we are new people by following Jesus. We witness to Jesus’ salvation in our lives as we are transformed by him.
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