Have you ever wondered the purpose of Jesus’ transfiguration? Why did Jesus reveal Himself in glory to only the three apostles? What was the significance of Elijah and Moses being there? Why did He tell Peter, James and John to not tell anyone until after the resurrection? Let’s see what we can find out about it.
After Jesus talks with His disciples, asking who they think He is, Peter gets it right. He is the Son of God, the Christ who will save the world. Then Jesus tells them that He is going to die and be raised again, but they didn’t get it. They didn’t understand. He then explains what it takes to follow Him. To take up our cross as He was about to do. After that, He bring three of His disciples and shows them who He was. He reveals Himself in His glory as He will one day come and reveal Himself to all of us.
And He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will not taste death till they see the kingdom of God present with power.” Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and led them up on a high mountain apart by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. His clothes became shining, exceedingly white, like snow, such as no launderer on earth can whiten them. And Elijah appeared to them with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; and let us make three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah”— because he did not know what to say, for they were greatly afraid. And a cloud came and overshadowed them; and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!” Suddenly, when they had looked around, they saw no one anymore, but only Jesus with themselves. Now as they came down from the mountain, He commanded them that they should tell no one the things they had seen, till the Son of Man had risen from the dead.
I wonder what was going through these disciples heads at the time. They must have been in awe as well as full of fear when Jesus was in all His glory. Matthew describes Him as shining like the sun:
…and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.
Perhaps this is why Jesus is often described as the Light and that we are to be the light of the world. Those of us who follow Him will one day share in His glory and He will return to reveal Himself to all.
If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.”
The Bible tells us to live in such a way as to give glory to God. We are His people, we are His glory. One day Jesus will return for those who are still here, with those who will be with Him in heaven. What a glorious day that will be.
On the mountain, Moses and Elijah came to meet Jesus. I think part of this was to show that Jesus was about to fulfill the “law and the prophets.” Jesus is the One and Only Lord and Savior. Only through Him are we saved. Nothing that we do can accomplish this. I don’t think Peter quite understood this at that time. He, in a sense, put Moses and Elijah on the same level as Jesus when he suggested to build a tabernacle for all three. That may be partly why God the Father spoke to them. To show that Jesus was above all.
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said to him, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.”
Peter realized this later after Jesus died and rose again and the Holy Spirit indwelled in him. Jesus was much more than they imagined. He was the Savior of the world; He is God. The transfiguration revealed His deity as did His resurrection and appearing to them and many others..
2 Peter 1:16-19
For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain. And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts;
Jesus came as God in the flesh, as a Light to shine in this dark world.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.’ ” And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”