About eight days after Jesus tells His Disciples that He is going to be killed and be raised on the third day, He takes His closest companions Peter, James, and John up onto a mountain to pray. We learn that the disciples were sleepy and probably fell asleep, but at some point awoke to see Jesus talking with the prophets Moses and Elijah in “glorious splendor.” As the prophets were leaving, Peter suggests building three shelters: one for Jesus, one for Moses, and one for Elijah because, I believe, Peter wanted to stay in that moment since it was so wonderful to behold. Then though a cloud appeared like a fog and engulfed them, and they were afraid. But a voice said from the cloud, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to Him.” God Himself had told them exactly who Jesus was with no hesitations. But the apostles did not tell the others what they had experienced upon their return.
Can you even imagine such an experience? Aside from being afraid, which I think we all would be in that instance, seeing the prophets and Jesus together talking in whatever that splendor entailed, and then actually hearing the voice of God. Wow! Talk about a mountaintop experience!
Jesus wanted these three trusted Disciples to see Him in at least a part of His heavenly glory, so they could gain a greater comprehension of who Jesus was. Only by seeing Jesus transfigured into His true self, could they begin to understand and be reassured after hearing of the shocking news of His coming death.
The Disciples never forgot what happened that day on the mountain. John wrote in his gospel later, “We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only,” in John 1:14. Peter later wrote about them being eyewitnesses to Christ’s majesty in 2 Peter 1:16. These three who saw Jesus in His true wonder told not only the others Disciples when the right time came but also countless millions down through the centuries through their writings of just who Christ really was – our Savior and Redeemer, God’s Son. Never forget that Jesus can “transfigure” (completely change) us too into His holy children.
Let’s say a prayer. Dear Jesus, please help us to remember who You really are — our Savior, Redeemer, and Friend. You are truly God’s Son who came to earth to save us and now You wait for us in heaven. Help us to be transfigured and changed into children who love and serve You always. In Your name we pray. Amen.
Ann Moody is pastor of Wilkesville First Presbyterian Church and the Middleport First Presbyterian Church.