Last week for homeschool we did a narration of the Transfiguration. While reading the story aloud, I had an epiphany: it echoes the story of Moses receiving the 10 Commandments. I shared the parallel between the two stories with my boys. Now I’d like to share it–and the principle behind it–with you.
As a writer and avid reader, I am convinced of the inspiration of Sacred Scripture. (Besides, of course, being convinced as a Christian by the authority of the Church.) Dozens of writers over thousands of years produced the book we now call the Bible. They were from different cultures, used different literary genres, and had diverse purposes.
Amazingly, the same themes are developed throughout the Bible from beginning to end. Types and anti-types, prophecies and their fulfillment, fill its pages. You can follow one idea like a wave on the sea from Genesis to Revelation, or stand on the shore and admire the rhythm of the ocean that is the entire Bible.
I love to share these patterns with my children. I get excited about them, and that excites my boys!
Mt. Sinai and Mt. Tabor
In Exodus, Moses goes up on Mt. Sinai with his assistant Joshua, leaving Aaron in charge. On the mountain, he speaks with God “face to face” and receives the 10 Commandments. Then he descends the mountain to give the commandments to the people. What does he find? In his absence, Aaron has made them a golden calf to worship.
Then in Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus goes up on Mount Tabor with Peter, James, and John. He speaks face to face with Moses and Elijah. Then He descends the mountain to find that the disciples He had left behind were unable to cast a demon out of a boy who was brought to them.
Both stories portray a lack of faith. The Israelites doubted the true God and made an idol, a false god they hoped was stronger than the One that had not let Moses come back safely to them. The disciples, apparently afraid of the power a demon displayed, doubted that they had the power to cast it out.
Literary masters or inspired disciples?
In your study of the Bible, you will find many parallels like this. It’s as though the Gospel writers were literary masters who had studied the Old Testament thoroughly and wove new stories to echo the old. Only, John was a fisherman. Matthew was a tax collector. We don’t know Mark’s profession, but he was an early disciple of Jesus, and later traveled with both Peter and Paul. He was presumably from a humble background. Only Luke, a physician, is known to have been an educated man.
These men did not create their own stories. They wrote the Gospel as they had witnessed it or learned it from others. Yes, each told the Gospel in his own way, because the holy Spirit works through our natural gifts. But before they wrote, their eyes were opened like the men on the road to Emmaus. They were able to see Christ throughout the Old Testament. God Himself was the artist who wove history together in such a way that everything points towards Christ. How blessed we are to have Sacred Scripture!