Theme: The Transfiguration

Bible Reading

Matthew 17:1-9

Preparation

Have a map available to show the Sea of Galilee, Caesarea Philippi and Mount Hermon (the most likely scene of the Transfiguration). Have a letter (details below) ready in an envelope.

The presence of Moses and Elijah at the moment of Jesus’ Transfiguration is significant as they represent the Law and the Prophets – the two great foundations of Jewish life – and they show that the Law and Prophets of what Christians now call the Old Testament were both pointing to the coming of Jesus as Messiah.

Introduction

Discuss with the children what they know about Peter. Refer to his fishing on the Sea of Galilee, his brother Andrew, and their two friends James and John. Peter is the only disciple we know was a married man. Jesus healed his mother-in-law. Point out that Peter was away from home as he followed Jesus. His family would want to know what was happening. What follows is an imaginary letter that Peter might have written after the Transfiguration.

The Message

“Dear All of you,

At last a chance to write to you. Jesus has been so busy lately and we’ve hardly had a moment to ourselves. The crowds love him and want him to teach and heal them. But three days ago something really amazing happened.

Jesus asked James, John and me to go off with him. We left the others in Caesarea Philippi and walked towards the mountains. We climbed higher and higher. None of us are as fit as we were when we were fishing so we had to go slowly. As the light began to fade Jesus stopped. We were so tired that the three of us just crashed out. Not Jesus though – he was praying.

We woke up with the sound of voices. Jesus was talking to two other men. It’s hard to believe but it was Moses and Elijah. Moses who gave us God’s laws – the ten commandments. Elijah who was the greatest of the prophets.

Jesus was talking to them about how he was going to die in Jerusalem and what that would mean.

Well, you know me. I can never keep my big mouth shut! I blurted out, ‘It’s great being here. Let us make three shelters – one for you, and one for Moses and Elijah.’ Just then a cloud came down really quickly and covered the mountain. A voice seemed to come from the cloud. ‘This is my chosen Son. Listen to what he says.’ It was God speaking.

We were so terrified we fell flat on the ground. Jesus came over to us and helped us up. When we looked around Moses, Elijah and the cloud had all gone. There was just Jesus standing there.

Thinking about it later I know how important this time was for Jesus. Moses, Elijah and God his father were telling him to go on – to go to Jerusalem although he would die.

What a privilege it was to be there.

Must go, the crowds have all come back again. Hope to see you soon.

Love from Peter.”

Ask the assembly what they made of the story:

  • What would the family have thought when they read the letter?
  • How might what happened have helped Jesus?
  • How might what happened have helped Peter and the other disciples?

Prayer

Jesus, friend and brother, Thank you for your courage in facing what lay ahead. Give us the courage to be and to do what pleases you.

Also this week you could hear some stories about Moses and Elijah – perhaps do this first then finish the week with the Transfiguration.