In the Twinkling of an Eye
Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.
–1 Corinthians 15:51-52
I remember the day I stepped out of the airport into the San Diego sunshine for the first time. After living my entire life in the East and Midwest, I thought I’d arrived on a different planet. Our new home in San Diego was a dream come true for my husband. Not so much for me.
Magnify my feeling of being in an alien land about a thousand times and you have Peter’s witness of Jesus’ transfiguration on the mountain (Matt. 17:1-8). Suddenly he saw a bright light, heard a voice from heaven, and received revelation knowledge that the two men with Jesus were Moses and Elijah. No wonder Peter fell on the ground, terrified. What he was seeing was totally outside any experience he’d ever had before.
The Apostle Paul comes closest, in my opinion, to putting Peter’s experience into words when he tells the Corinthians, “Listen, I tell you a mystery…we will all be changed…” Paul goes on to explain about “the resurrection body,” that the perishable will be clothed with the imperishable; the mortal with immortality.
For a few moments on the mountain, Jesus was dramatically changed in appearance. And I’ve often wondered why. Was it to encourage Jesus? Or could it be for Peter’s benefit? Was he, in fact, was seeing a glimpse of what his own perishable body would one day look like on the day when “Death has been swallowed up in victory” (1 Cor. 15:54c). We don’t know his thinking from scripture, do we? We only know that Peter wanted to mark the day somehow and suggested putting up three shelters. You might say he had an earthly response to a heavenly intervention.
Sort of like what happened to me the day I arrived in San Diego. Until God set me straight.