Jesus was teaching his disciples many things about the Kingdom of God and how to reach there. He told them that those who want to follow him should take up their crosses and follow him. He told them clearly that it is the way for saving their life. It is the only way of salvation.
Peter exalted and rebuked
Peter was quite convinced that Jesus should be the promised Messiah. With all his weakness Peter followed Jesus. When the disciples were asked what they thought of Jesus, Peter immediately answered, “You are the Messiah.” And Jesus exalted praising him, “You are Peter (or Rock) and on this rock I will build my Church.”(Matthew 16: 18)
But the incident that followed it proved the human weakness of Peter. When Jesus told the disciples about his sufferings and crucifixion, Peter was not ready to accept him as a suffering personality. “Peter took him aside and began to reproach him, “Never, Lord! No, this must never happen to you.”(Mt. 16: 22) His human weakness could not accept his Master, the expected Messiah of his conviction, undergo any suffering. But “Jesus turned to him and said, “Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle in my path. You are thinking not as God does, but as people do.”(Mt. 16: 23)
The thorn-crowned suffering face of Jesus
Isaiah prophesied about the face of Jesus, Messiah, the Suffering Servant, “Just as many have been horrified at his disfigured appearance: “Is this the man? He does not look like one” (Isaiah 52: 14). “He was despised and rejected, a man of sorrows familiar with grief, a man from whom people hide their face, spurned and considered of no account.”(Is. 53: 3)
The dazzling face of Jesus
Only six days passed after these incidents of Peter’s declaration and Jesus reproaching him. Jesus took Peter and two others and showed them his real glorious face which Peter had dreamt to see. Peter always wanted to see only the glorious face of Jesus. “Jesus’ appearance was changed before them: his face shone like the sun and his clothes became bright as light.”(Mt. 17:2) At the transfiguration, Jesus face reflected the glory of God. It was clearly recognizable as the face of God. It was no longer a face “emptied of the divine glory.”(Ref. Philippians 2:7) The dazzling face of transfiguration is not a denial of cross but it is an acceptance of the cross towards divinity.
Without Good Friday there is no Easter Sunday
Which face of Jesus Christ do we prefer to see? We cannot look at the transfigured face of Jesus without picturing the thorn-crowned face of crucified Jesus Christ. His crucifixion takes us into the mysterious depths of his glorious divinity. It is only though Good Friday that we can move in to a Glorious Easter Sunday!