The Transfiguration is rated as one of the most significant events in Jesus’ life and there are very good reasons.
On the occasion, Jesus took Peter, James and John up to the top of a mountain. There His clothes became, “Radiantly white” and the Old Testament Prophets, Moses and Elijah, appeared and spoke to Him. Simon Peter, afraid and not knowing what to do, said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you want, I will make three shelters – one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah”.
A cloud then overshadowed them and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him!” The disciples on hearing this, “Were overwhelmed with fear and threw themselves down with their faces to the ground. But Jesus came and touched them. ‘Get up’, he said. ‘Do not be afraid’. When they looked up, all they saw was Jesus alone”.
On the way down the mountain, Jesus told Peter, James and John to tell no one about what they had witnessed until after He had risen from the dead. (Matthew 17:1-8, Mark 9:2-10, Luke 9:28-36)
Questions and Answers:
Q1. Why did Jesus choose Peter, James and John?
Maybe because Jesus knew they would be his future leaders; Peter the “rock”, James among the first to die for his sake, and John the Gospel writer.
Q2. What were the three disciples witnesses to?
A glimpse of the glory of God. John wrote, “We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only”. (John 1:14) Peter wrote, “We were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received honour and glory from God the Father when the voice came to Him from the Majestic Glory, saying, This is my Son, whom I love; with Him, I am well pleased”. (2 Peter 1:16-18)
Q3. Why Moses and Elijah?
Symbolically, they represented the Law and the Prophets but the voice from heaven, “Listen to Him”, made it abundantly clear that it was now Jesus’ teachings that mattered.
The transfiguration was a momentous occasion in Jesus’ life, a visible sign of His almighty power and glory, a time when heaven and earth moved a little closer. It is also a momentous occasion for us, as we climb our many small daily mountains, with Jesus.
Lord Jesus, thank you for your life as Son of Man and thank you for picking me up when I have been afraid and lost.
May Christ support us all the day long,
till the shadows lengthen,
and the evening comes,
and the busy world is hushed,
and the fever of life is over
and our work is done.
Then in his mercy
may he give us a safe lodging,
and holy rest
and peace at the last. Amen.