2 Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, 3 and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. 4 And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. 5 Then Peter said to Jesus, "Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." 6 He did not know what to say, for they were terrified. 7 Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, "This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!" 8 Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus. 9 As they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them to tell no one about what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead. 10 So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what this rising from the dead could mean. 11 And they asked him, "Why do the scribes say that first Elijah must come?" 12 And he said to them, "Elijah does come first to restore all things; and how is it written of the Son of man, that he should suffer many things and be treated with contempt? 13 But I tell you that Elijah has come, and they did to him whatever they pleased, as it is written of him."
Meditation: Are you prepared to see God's glory? God is eager
to share his glory with us! We get a glimpse of this when the
disciples see Jesus transfigured on the mountain. Jesus' face
changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white (Mark
When Moses met with God on Mount Sinai the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God (see Exodus 34:29). Paul says that the Israelites could not look at Moses' face because of its brightness (2 Corinthians 3:7). In the Gospel account Jesus appeared in glory with Moses, the great lawgiver of Israel, and with Elijah, the greatest of the prophets, in the presence of three of his beloved apostles - Peter, James, and John.
What is the significance of this mysterious appearance? Jesus went to the mountain knowing full well what awaited him in Jerusalem - his betrayal, rejection and crucifixion. Jesus very likely discussed this momentous decision to go to the cross with Moses and Elijah. God the Father also spoke with Jesus and gave his approval: This is my beloved Son; listen to him. The Father glorified his son because he obeyed. The cloud which overshadowed Jesus and his apostles fulfilled the dream of the Jews that when the Messiah came the cloud of God's presence would fill the temple again (see Exodus 16:10, 19:9, 33:9; 1 Kings 8:10; 2 Maccabees 2:8).
The Lord wants to share his glory with each of us
The Lord Jesus not only wants us to see his glory - he wants to share this glory with us. And Jesus shows us the way to the Father's glory: follow me - obey my words - take the path I have chosen for you and you will receive the blessings of my Father's kingdom - your name will be written in heaven.
Jesus succeeded in his mission because he went to Calvary so that Paradise would be restored to us once again. He embraced the cross to obtain the crown of glory that awaits each one of us, if we will follow in his footsteps.
Origen of Alexandria (185-254 AD), an early church bible scholar and writer, shows us how the transfiguration can change our lives:
"When he is transfigured, his face also shines as the sun that he may be manifested to the children of light who have put off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light, and are no longer the children of darkness or night but have become the sons of day, and walk honestly as in the day. Being manifest, he will shine unto them not simply as the sun, but as demonstrated to be the sun of righteousness."
Stay awake spiritually - Don't miss God's glory and action
Luke's Gospel account tells us that while Jesus was transfigured, Peter, James, and John were asleep (Luke 9:32)! Upon awakening they discovered Jesus in glory along with Moses and Elijah. How much do we miss of God's glory and action because we are asleep spiritually? There are many things which can keep our minds asleep to the things of God: Mental lethargy and the "unexamined life" can keep us from thinking things through and facing our doubts and questions. The life of ease can also hinder us from considering the challenging or disturbing demands of Christ. Prejudice can make us blind to something new the Lord may have for us. Even sorrow can be a block until we can see past it to the glory of God.
Are you spiritually awake? Peter, James, and John were privileged witnesses of the glory of Christ. We, too, as disciples of Christ are called to be witnesses of his glory. We all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18). The Lord wants to reveal his glory to us, his beloved disciples. Do you seek his presence with faith and reverence?
1 I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name for ever and ever.
2 Every day I will bless you, and praise your name for ever and ever.
3 Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable.
4 One generation shall laud your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.
5 On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
10 All your works shall give thanks to you, O LORD, and all your saints shall bless you!
11 They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom, and tell of your power,
12 to make known to the sons of men your mighty deeds, and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
Daily Quote from the Early Church Fathers: The transfiguration of Jesus, by Jerome (347-420 AD)
"Do you wish to see the transfiguration of Jesus? Behold with me
the Jesus of the Gospels. Let him be simply apprehended. There he
is beheld both 'according to the flesh' and at the same time in
his true divinity. He is beheld in the form of God according to
our capacity for knowledge. This is how he was beheld by those who
went up upon the lofty mountain to be apart with him. Meanwhile
those who do not go up the mountain can still behold his works and
hear his words, which are uplifting. It is before those who go up
that Jesus is transfigured, and not to those below. When he is
transfigured, his face shines as the sun, that he may be
manifested to the children of light, who have put off the works of
darkness and put on the armor of light (Romans 13:12).
They are no longer the children of darkness or night but have
become the children of day. They walk honestly as in the day.
Being manifested, he will shine to them not simply as the sun but
as he is demonstrated to be, the sun of righteousness." (excerpt
from COMMENTARY ON MATTHEW 12.37.10)