This story of the transfiguration describes a moment of profound revelation of Jesus’s true identity. Only the week before, when Jesus had asked his disciples who he was, Peter had said he was the Messiah. Then Jesus had told the crowd that, “some standing here right now will not die before they see the Kingdom of God”(Luke 9:27). Peter, James and John are now given a glimpse of Heaven.
Like so many stories in the Bible, the transfiguration seems to belong in the realms of fantasy fiction. More, Lord of the Rings than Lord of Hosts! But the more I think about it, the more I realise that the important point is the fact of the revelation of the Kingdom of Heaven. It is not the radiant faces or bright lights and it is not the enigmatic figures or disembodied voices in the clouds that are important. Peter had confessed to Jesus that he believed he was the Messiah and his saviour and about eight days later, Jesus’s true identity had been shown to him in such a way as he would never be able to forget it.
Luke 9:28-36 NLT
About eight days later Jesus took Peter, John, and James up on a mountain to pray. And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was transformed, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly, two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared and began talking with Jesus. They were glorious to see. And they were speaking about his exodus from this world, which was about to be fulfilled in Jerusalem. Peter and the others had fallen asleep. When they woke up, they saw Jesus’ glory and the two men standing with him. As Moses and Elijah were starting to leave, Peter, not even knowing what he was saying, blurted out, “Master, it’s wonderful for us to be here! Let’s make three shelters as memorials —one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” But even as he was saying this, a cloud overshadowed them, and terror gripped them as the cloud covered them. Then a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, my Chosen One. Listen to him.” When the voice finished, Jesus was there alone. They didn’t tell anyone at that time what they had seen.
Having confessed to Jesus that I wish to turn from my former sinful life and follow him, I too have been shown the reality of the Kingdom of God. I can’t say I saw Jesus talking to Moses and Elijah on a mountain in dazzling white clothes. But I can say that I have seen my friends and fellow Christians moved in the presence of Jesus as we have prayed together, and I have felt the touch of the Holy Spirit flow through me and heard the voice of the Father as I have prayed and read the scriptures. When you know who Jesus is and confess it to him, he really will show you who he is.
Deuteronomy 18:1-20:20, Luke 9:28-50, Psalms 73:1-28, Proverbs 12:10