Lessons from Matthew 17: Transfiguration
In our last lesson, we discussed the importance of having a regular time of prayer and journaling.
So now let me ask you this: What will you do to begin this glorious journey? What time will you set aside each day to have a conversation with God? Do you have a place in mind? A quiet closet, your car, somewhere no one can disturb or interrupt your time alone with God?
As Jesus was praying into the night (which we can take from Luke 9:37) Peter, James, and John became eyewitnesses to His glorious transfiguration.
Matthew, Mark, and Luke all describe this glorious event in which Jesus was revealed, not in His human form, but rather in His heavenly state. The veil of flesh was lifted and He appeared in His glorified state.
We are told that Jesus’s face was transfigured and it became as bright as the sun. His clothes, which would have been dark and unremarkable, became as white as the light. In fact, we are told they became dazzling white, as bright as a flash of lightning, whiter than anyone could bleach them.
And if that was not enough to take in, Moses, the Old Testament lawgiver, and Elijah, the Old Testament prophet, both appeared on the scene and began to speak with Jesus.
Luke also discloses to us that Moses and Elijah came to speak to Jesus regarding His soon-to-be departure. God the Father had imparted His plans to these two saints of the OT and sent them from heaven to confirm the Father’s will.
Jesus would go forward.
He would face the cross of suffering. And now these three men–Peter, James, and John–were given a confirming sign. However, they didn’t fully understand it at the time! This became apparent as Peter, sweet spontaneous Peter, offered to build three shelters.
But while Peter was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from within the cloud began to speak. The three witnesses heard these confirming words, “This IS MY SON, whom I love…”
Even though the cross would bring Jesus’s death, ultimately it would also bring forth new life. The resurrected life of Jesus as the Christ and new life for all who would choose to place their faith in Him. Jesus would not die as a punishment for His sins, for He was sinless. Jesus would die because of His Father’s great love for Him and for us.
Thus the next words, “…with him I am well pleased.”
Jesus remained the sinless lamb of God, the perfect sacrifice, one without spot or blemish. He was holy and pure, and God the Father said, “Listen to him!”
In the word “listen” you can also find the word, “silent.” It would do us all some good if we remained silent long enough to hear God speak.
When the three disciples heard this, they fell face down, becoming prostate before the Lord in terror. But verse 7 says it was Jesus who came to them and touched them. He encouraged them to get up and told them not to be afraid. And when they looked up, everyone was gone except Jesus.
What was the purpose of this transfiguration?