Six days later Jesus took Peter and the two brothers, James and John, and led them up a high mountain to be alone. As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed so that his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as light. Suddenly, Moses and Elijah appeared and began talking with Jesus.
Peter exclaimed, “Lord, it’s wonderful for us to be here! If you want, I’ll make three shelters as memorials —one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
But even as he spoke, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy. Listen to him.” The disciples were terrified and fell face down on the ground.
Then Jesus came over and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” And when they looked up, Moses and Elijah were gone, and they saw only Jesus.
As they went back down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”
Then his disciples asked him, “Why do the teachers of religious law insist that Elijah must return before the Messiah comes?”
Jesus replied, “Elijah is indeed coming first to get everything ready. But I tell you, Elijah has already come, but he wasn’t recognized, and they chose to abuse him. And in the same way they will also make the Son of Man suffer.” Then the disciples realized he was talking about John the Baptist.”
Matthew 17:1-13 NLT
My Thoughts: Let’s begin by looking at the definition of the transfiguration from the Merriam Webster dictionary:
Transfiguration-a change in form or appearance. An exalting, glorifying, or spiritual change.
Webster’s Dictionary from 1828 says almost the same thing but adds the specific event:
Transfiguration-a change of form; particularly, the supernatural change in the personal appearance of our Savior on the mount.
The transfiguration was a vision, a brief glimpse of the glory of the King as stated in the verses we just studied:
“For the Son of Man will come with his angels in the glory of his Father and will judge all people according to their deeds. And I tell you the truth, some standing here right now will not die before they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom.” Matthew 16:27-28 NLT
This was a special revelation of Jesus’ divinity to three of the disciples, Peter, James and John. It was God’s announcement of everything Jesus had done and was about to do, and an open conversation between God, Jesus, and the prophets Moses and Elijah. These disciples were a witness to this glorious event.
Moses and Elijah were two of the greatest prophets in the Old Testament. Moses represents the law and Elijah represents the prophets who foretold the coming of the Messiah. Together their presence confirmed the mission of Jesus: the fulfillment of the law and the words of God’s prophets. God’s voice affirmed Jesus as his Son, and his love and pleasure for all that Jesus had done up to this point.
Can you even imagine what it would be like to be present at this glorious event? I simply cannot and if God had given me that opportunity, I know that my servant’s heart would have been just a confused as Peter’s! Instead of worshipping and adoring the Lord and what was happening, I would most likely repeat Peter’s behavior. He wanted to “do” something instead of just listening and learning. What a strong reminder that closing our mouths and opening our heart to listen and learn is vastly more important than allowing one word to escape our lips!
We all must understand that Jesus Christ is more just than a great leader, more than a prophet, more than a good example for our own lives; He is the Son of God! Have you taken the time to answer the previous questions from my past blogs about Jesus? Have you surrendered your heart to him as your Lord and Savior? The Bible constantly reminds us the time is drawing near for the return of Jesus and we must be prepared! I beg you to please search your heart and seek Jesus! Early in Matthew we were told if we truly seek Jesus, we will find him!
“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone, who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8 NLT
Won’t you please truly seek the answers? My heart cannot stand the thought of one day in heaven without you.
Jesus ends this glorious event by asking his disciples to keep what they saw to themselves. He knows they don’t fully understand all that they have seen and heard.
I find myself in this same position as the disciples some days. I don’t always fully understand what is happening, especially if a situation is tragic. Therefore, silence and prayer are often my best response.
When I pray and tell God my heart, I remember that he knows all, sees all, and nothing is a surprise to him. Eventually, while I wait and trust in the Lord, my faith grows, and I find comfort. In a world where we have knowledge instantly available to us with a few simple keystrokes, waiting and trusting can be a difficult, but rewarding, act of obedience.
Although Jesus knows his disciples are confused, he shows no frustration towards them when they try to discern what just happened by asking questions about what they had learned from teachers of the Old Testament that Elijah must come before the Messiah comes (see verse below). Jesus tells them that Elijah had already come but he was not recognized.
“Look, I am sending you the prophet Elijah before the great and dreadful day of the Lord arrives.” Malachi 4:5 NLT
The disciple’s eyes are suddenly opened, and they see that indeed Elijah had come but through John the Baptist. In that moment they knew they were in the presence of the Messiah.
The day will come when we will all kneel before the returning Messiah. I ask you again, are you ready? Don’t you want to know and understand the Messiah as the disciples did in that moment? Have you truly asked for understanding? Because when you do, you will receive the greatest gift you can ever even imagine.
Closing Prayer: Father God, I pray that the hearts of many will read this blog today and surrender their hearts to you. My heart cries and longs for my loved ones to surrender their heart to you now so they can benefit from the blessing you generously give to your followers. Father I pray if there is confusion, or if there is a need for someone to understand you more, they diligently ask, seek, and knock by reaching out to their local church, or to a man or woman who has a relationship with you. I pray all these things in the name of Jesus. Amen.