“I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.”
About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure [literally, His exodus] which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem. Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, “Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters–one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what he was saying.)
While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.” When the voice had spoken, they found that Jesus was alone.
(Luke 9:27-36, NIV)
Jesus had just drawn from His disciples a confession that He was indeed the Messiah. Immediately He began to explain to them what this would mean: He would have to suffer, be rejected, and be killed, then rise again after three days; and if they wanted to be His disciples, they would have to deny themselves, take up their own crosses daily, and follow Him.
What a bombshell for these disciples! It definitely wasn’t what they were expecting, either for Jesus or for themselves.
So to cement this crucial new revelation about Jesus, three of the disciples were given a glimpse of who He really was. Normally an ordinary-looking Hebrew peasant, for a few fleeting moments three disciples saw a glimmer of His natural glory. He physically shone with the radiance of heaven, and there in person were the law and the prophets, Moses and Elijah, testifying to Him. What a stunning sight!
Decades later, as an old man, Peter would still be talking about it as the day of his own martyrdom drew near:
We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor 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.” We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain. (2 Peter 1:16-18, NIV)
This was the One who would soon suffer humiliation and a seemingly-final death. This was the One calling them to lay down their lives and follow Him.
And for all of us who follow after, the truth about who Jesus is still brings us assurance and stability. Who Jesus is fills our uncertainty with a settled peace. It points us beyond suffering to eternal glory. We must never forget Whom we are following. We must never forget Who spoke the wisdom and the promises by which we live.
Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ!
Listen…and sing if you want:
Hymn: Transfiguration Hymn
Printed Music & Lyrics