Jesus Transfigured - Part 1

May 18, 2021

Six days later Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up on a high mountain by themselves. And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him (Matthew 17:1-3).

Parallel passages of the transfiguration of Jesus are found in Mark 9:2-10 and Luke 9:28-36, however, Luke does not use the term ‘transfigured’ but rather the appearance of His face became different . . . .

The word ‘transfigured’ is the same word for ‘metamorphosis’ in English. It means ‘to change the form’ and reveals the essence of a thing as separate from the outward appearance of it. There are a number of examples of this in life, but the most familiar to us is that of the transformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly. The essence of the butterfly is in the caterpillar, and the essence of the caterpillar is in the butterfly - they are the same creature in essence though their appearance is vastly different.

Matthew and Mark state the transfiguration of Jesus took place 6 days after the conversation of Jesus with the disciples in Matthew 16:24-28. Luke says it was 8 days after. The definitive answer to this matter is that Matthew and Mark count 6 days after the conversation and before the transfiguration while Luke counts the day of the conversation and the day of the transfiguration. It’s the difference between intervening days (6) and inclusive days (8).

We do not know the name or place of the mountain upon which Jesus was transfigured. Some scholars believe the mountain to be Mt. Hermon, a very high mountain to the north of Caesarea Philippi.

Jesus did not take all the disciples with Him, only Peter, James, and John. Several reasons could be cited, but the more notable ones are: (1) Deuteronomy 19:15 states, on the evidence of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed, so Jesus was following Mosaic protocol, (2) these three men formed the inner circle of the disciples and those closest to Jesus, (3) these three men were the most trusted and reliable of the disciples and would serve to instruct the others as to the events on the mountain, and (4) had all 12 men been present it would have been difficult to keep the story straight without embellishment or contradiction.

That Jesus was transfigured before Peter, James, and John was a profoundly important event in the life of Jesus and those disciples, the import of which is necessary for us to understand.

“Lord Jesus, what a glorious event that took place on that mountain so many years ago, and what a profound truth it conveys to us today. Thank You for allowing us to catch a glimpse of what lay ahead for all of us who know You personally as Lord and Savior and coming King. To Your praise and glory, Amen.”


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