The Transfiguration of Jesus
(Why was it significant?)

The Setting:

Matthew 16:13-17 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi...

north of Galilee, in the Golan Heights, a lush area; home to a massive spring that is one of the three main sources of the Jordan river,

...he asked his [12] disciples...

Matthew 10:2-4 These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John ; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. (Also Matthew 11:1, Luke 6:13-16)

... "Who do people say the Son of Man is?"

Daniel 7:13-14 In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.

Jesus used the prophetical title "son of man" as written in Daniel. While we are quick to think of Jesus as being the son of God, it is good to be reminded that He was born into the human race - now fully God and fully man.

14 They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets."

Luke 9:7-9 Now Herod [Antipas, one of three sons of Herod the Great] the tetrarch heard about all that was going on. And he was perplexed, because some were saying that John had been raised from the dead, 8 others that Elijah had appeared, and still others that one of the prophets of long ago had come back to life. 9 But Herod said, "I beheaded John . Who, then, is this I hear such things about?" And he tried to see him. (NIV)

Herod Antipas held many of the pagan beliefs [and pride and paranoia] of his late father. His guilty conscience, in having John wrongfully imprisoned and killed, had him worrying that somehow John had come back from the dead. Some of the people wishfully hoped so too, because John had been willing to confront the religious and secular rulers. These were especially the ones who were hoping for a charismatic figure who would remake the nation and overthrow the Roman government and its' puppets [the Sanhedrin, Pharisees, Herodians, etc]

Those who hoped that Jesus might have been Jeremiah, or one of the ancient prophets, were those who were especially looking for one who would correct the wrongs within the Jewish religion. The high priesthood had become corrupt (and controlled by Rome), the religious rulers were manipulative, overbearing, and interested more in wealth than in true righteousness. Even as the ancient prophets had been zealous for the truth and for God, they hoped that Jesus would do more of the same.

Ezekiel 34:1-2 The word of the LORD came to me: 2 "Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them: 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Woe to the shepherds of Israel who only take care of themselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock? (NIV)

Those hoping that Jesus was Elijah, were hoping for the Messiah. Not that they believed that this peasant Jesus was him, they were sure that he would be a royal King, one who would destroy the Romans, rebuild the kingdom of Israel, and usher in an age that would rival the time of David and Solomon. If Jesus was this Elijah, the Messiah couldn't be far behind...

Malachi 4:5-6 "See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. 6 He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse." (NIV)

15 "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?"

Christianity hinges on this one question... who do you believe Jesus is? If only a political zealot, an earthly king, merely a prophet [as Islam teaches] or a reformer of Judaism, or just a man, your hope is in vain. Peter responded with, and believed, the right answer...

16 Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

Jesus was the one that the Jews professed to be looking and longing for. But they did not recognize Him.

John 1:10-11 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. (NIV)

But Peter did recognize Him for who he was and the reason is given in the next verse...

17 Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.

God reveals His truth in His timing. Even as the more we study His word, we learn progressively more of His truth (all our lives), God doesn't have to reveal of a matter at one time. This does not take away from the fact that everything God reveals is perfect truth and what we need for that time.

Thought Peter knew and believed the truth about who Jesus was, he (and the other disciples) still did not understand fully what that meant. For example, they did not understand that Jesus needed to die and rise again, that Jesus came to fulfill the Old Testament law, not merely re-impose it, and that His kingdom was not to be an external one at this time, rather an inward one. The event that would shortly follow would illustrate (and reveal) some of that.


The Transfiguration:

Matthew 17:1-9 After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. [This had to be Mount Hermon, the only high mountain in the area of Caesarea Philippi, one that has snow on its' upper reaches.]

Jesus took three disciples with him, to be special witnesses to what was about to take place. This fully met the requirement of the law to legally establish any matter.

Deuteronomy 19:15 One witness is not enough to convict a man accused of any crime or offense he may have committed. A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. (NIV)

2 There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.

Jesus' appearance was changed. Though it was still Jesus, how he looked was transformed.

Luke 9:29 As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. (NIV)

Mark 9:3 His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. (NIV)

#1. Jesus' face shone like the sun.

Exodus 33:21-23 Then the LORD said, "There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. 22 When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen." (NIV)

Exodus 34:29-30 When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the LORD. 30 When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, his face was radiant, and they were afraid to come near him. (NIV)

The face of Moses shone because he had been briefly in the presence of God, even then only catching a glimpse of him from the back. This certainly was a reflected glory, the source not being in Moses but from God himself.

Jesus, as God in human flesh, allowed some of His glory to shine through (Hebrews 1:3). This was not a reflected glory, but originating in who He was. It had to have been only some, as even with Moses no earthly man could live and see God in His entire holy splendor. Consider other glimpses of Jesus' glory, how at a single word armed soldiers fell to the ground when coming to arrest Him in the garden (John 18:6).

John would one day, many years later, see Jesus in more of His glory...

Revelation 1:12-17 I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and among the lampstands was someone "like a son of man," dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. 14 His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. 15 His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. 17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. (NIV)

#2. His clothes became white as light (or lightning - blinding white light)

Jesus is fully righteous, perfect, and sinless. Robes of righteousness need to be given to us, as believers (Revelation 6:11), because apart from Jesus Christ ours are as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). Every saint who will spend eternity in the presence of our Holy God will be clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ (See also 2 Corinthians 5:1-5). Jesus, as he displayed his glory to his disciples, was clothed in His own righteousness - the only man who ever could and will be. Mark (9:3) clearly points out that this whiteness was "whiter than anyone in the world" could be the source of - this is supernatural purity!

In this Jesus displayed a bit of the majesty of God who is only light...

1 John 1:5b God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. (NIV)

3 Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.

The Pharisees, and indeed most of the people, would profess to want to listen to the Law and the Prophets. Moses as the representative of the law and Elijah as representative of the prophets, the phrase "what says the law and the prophets?" could be easily said as "what says Moses and Elijah?"

But God no longer wants the focus to be Moses or Elijah. Note that here we see them "talking with Jesus." It was Jesus they wanted to talk to too, it was Jesus they looked up to, and it was Jesus that they had longed for. Jesus, the one who was far greater than the giver of the law or any prophet, He alone was to be the focus. Note that in Scriptures Jesus is said to be greater than any of the things and people that where religiously looked up too: the temple (Matthew 12:6), Jonah (Matthew 12:41, Luke 11:32), Solomon (Matthew 12:42, Luke 11:31), Jacob (John 4:12-14), Abraham (John 8:53-59), Moses (Hebrews 3:3-6).

Should it surprise us that Moses and Elijah would be speaking with Jesus, the One who could answer their questions, and the same questions the angels longed to look into? How significant that they should appear at the time of the imminent fulfillment of the very prophecies and types they expressed so long before.

1 Peter 1:12 It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things. (NIV)

Early church father, John Chrysostom (ca. 347-407), holds an additional reason why it was Moses and Elijah that spoke with Jesus.

Another reason is this; because the Jews were ever charging Jesus with being a transgressor of the Law and blasphemer, and usurping to Himself the glory of the Father, that He might prove Himself guiltless of both charges, He brings forward those who were eminent in both particulars; Moses, who gave the Law, and Elias, who was jealous for the glory of God.

Considering each individually, beginning with Moses. For all of his greatness, and how God used Moses, Moses represented clearly the weakness of the law. The law could show what sin was but it could not save.

Galatians 3:21 For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. (NIV)

Secondly, for all of his greatness, and how God used Elijah, he represented clearly the weakness of the prophets of the law who could not force external conformity regardless of all their zeal.

1 Kings 19:14 He replied, "I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too." (NIV)

The need was for one who would fulfill the law, and introduce a new law (the law of love) which would work from the inside out. This was the ultimate Prophet that Moses told the people to look for; Jesus Christ...

Deuteronomy 18:15 The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him. (NIV)

And now, here was Moses, along with Elijah, listening to Him!

Elijah had tired of the struggle, the battle, of living in this fallen world (1 Kings 19:3-4). Like Elijah, it should be noted that every believer is involved in God's work. While we have found rest in Christ (Matthew 11:28), we don't receive the fullness of that rest until we leave this world. It's easy for us to grow weary as well (Galatians 6:9). This is why heaven is described as entering into God's rest.

Isaiah 57:2 Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death. (NIV)

Elijah was granted entrance into that final rest in a miraculous way, being taking directly into heaven (2 Kings 2:11). As with all saints, it was through Jesus that Elijah could be at rest, having fellowship with Jesus, his work finished. In contrast, Jesus' greatest work was soon to begin.

Matthew 27:46-49 About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"-which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" 47 When some of those standing there heard this, they said, "He's calling Elijah." 48 Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. 49 The rest said, "Now leave him alone. Let's see if Elijah comes to save him." (NIV)

How ironic that the spiritually blind people witnessing the events of the cross, would think that Jesus was calling out to Elijah - thinking that Elijah was somehow better or stronger or one who could save. I'm sure that anyone who had been listening in to this conversation on the mountain would have heard completely the opposite, as Elijah spoke with his Savior and Lord.

In regards to Moses, the law could not bring this great patriarch into the Promised Land... it could only leave him guilty and under its' judgment. As zealous as he was for the law, to fail to keep faith perfectly or to break any one aspect was to be guilty under the law (James 2:10). Even as, spiritually speaking, all Old Testament saints could only see the Promised Land from afar, looking to what would be accomplished in the future, Moses' life illustrated this physically.

Deuteronomy 32:48-52 On that same day the LORD told Moses, 49 "Go up into the Abarim Range to Mount Nebo in Moab, across from Jericho, and view Canaan, the land I am giving the Israelites as their own possession. 50 There on the mountain that you have climbed you will die and be gathered to your people, just as your brother Aaron died on Mount Hor and was gathered to his people. 51 This is because both of you broke faith with me in the presence of the Israelites at the waters of Meribah Kadesh in the Desert of Zin and because you did not uphold my holiness among the Israelites. 52 Therefore, you will see the land only from a distance; you will not enter the land I am giving to the people of Israel."

Deuteronomy 34:1-5 Then Moses climbed Mount Nebo from the plains of Moab to the top of Pisgah, across from Jericho. There the LORD showed him the whole land - from Gilead to Dan, 2 all of Naphtali, the territory of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the western sea, 3 the Negev and the whole region from the Valley of Jericho, the City of Palms, as far as Zoar. 4 Then the LORD said to him, "This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob when I said, 'I will give it to your descendants.' I have let you see it with your eyes, but you will not cross over into it." 5 And Moses the servant of the LORD died there in Moab, as the LORD had said. (NIV)

Yet now here on the mountain, in Christ, Moses came into the Promised Land. The One to whom Moses looked in faith was the only One who could do it, removing the offense of the law. It was on that grounds that he could now be here talking with Jesus.

Romans 3:20-22 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. 21 But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. (NIV)

With every believer throughout history we can know with assurance that we too will physical enter that eternal Promised Land (the new heavens and new earth; Isaiah 65:17).

Job 19:25-27 I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. 26 And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; 27 I myself will see him with my own eyes - I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! (NIV)

This scene on the mountain, showing those who had gone before alive and talking with Jesus, also testifies to a matter that Jesus addressed at another time. In response to the Sadducees, the humanists of their day who believed that this life was all there is, Jesus clearly spoke of the eternal (ongoing) life that is found in Him...

Mark 12:26-27 Now about the dead rising - have you not read in the book of Moses, in the account of the bush, how God said to him, 'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? 27 He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. You are badly mistaken!" (NIV)

Even as Moses and Elijah could appear with Jesus in glorious splendor, we too will be with Jesus eternally - we too will be changed.

Luke 9:30-31 Two men, Moses and Elijah, 31 appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. (NIV)

1 Corinthians 15:52b-53 For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. (NIV)


4 Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters - one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah."

Peter here illustrates what many wanted in regards to the Messiah. They wanted to keep things as they were: The law, the prophets, and Jesus - as it were - on an equal footing. They wanted a prophet who would come, as those of old, to scold and to judge, they wanted one like Moses who would perform miracles (Matthew 12:39) and re-impose the law. Even today, many want to hold Jesus on par with Moses and Elijah, with the law and the prophets. Sadly, still others would place Jesus as less than Moses and Elijah, a mere subject or teacher of the law and the prophets.

In the least, in desiring to stay there with the vision before them, Peter was not seeking the fulfillment of what was anticipated in this visual example. It was this type of shortsightedness that caused Jesus to rebuke Peter, when he had previously sought the status-quo, only a very short time before this event.

Matthew 16:21-23 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. 22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. "Never, Lord!" he said. "This shall never happen to you!" 23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men." (NIV)

Obviously Peter had not yet gotten the message that all things need to be accomplished in God's timing (Ecclesiastes 3:11). It is not for us to hinder God's plan, rather we should be seeking its' fulfillment in the time and manner that He has appointed.

In the case at hand, Peter needed to realize that the time of Moses and Elijah was past and it was time for them to go; a new era was dawning...

5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!"

God puts any idea of equality to rest! "This is my Son... listen to him!" No longer is it about the law and the prophets, it's now all about Jesus. It's only about Jesus. He is the one who came to fulfill the law (not abolish it).

Matthew 5:17 "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. (NIV)

Jesus is the One the prophets sought after, longed for, and taught about (Romans 3:21)...

John 1:45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, "We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote - Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph." (NIV)

Jesus didn't speak on the authority of the law, like Old Testament prophets and priests; He spoke out of his own authority.

"But I [Jesus] tell you..." (See Matthew 5:22; 5:28; 5:32; 5:34; 5:39; 5:44; 11:22; 11:24; 12:36; 17:12; Mark 9:13; Luke 6:27)

The voice of the Father came from a bright cloud, also a sign that a new day had dawned for God's people. In the past, especially in the giving of the law, God had spoken from dark clouds.

1 Kings 8:12 Then Solomon said, "The LORD has said that he would dwell in a dark cloud... (NIV)

Psalms 18:7-13 The earth trembled and quaked, and the foundations of the mountains shook; they trembled because he was angry. 8 Smoke rose from his nostrils; consuming fire came from his mouth, burning coals blazed out of it. 9 He parted the heavens and came down; dark clouds were under his feet. 10 He mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind. 11 He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him - the dark rain clouds of the sky. 12 Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced, with hailstones and bolts of lightning. 13 The LORD thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded. (NIV)

Psalms 97:2 Clouds and thick darkness surround him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne. (NIV)

Exodus 19:16-17 On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled. 17 Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. (NIV)

With the giving of the law and the increased knowledge of sin, came fear of the justice of a Holy God - and rightfully so! This was a God who could not be approached directly by sinful man. You needed a priest to go before him on your behalf and prophets to speak his word to you (even as Moses was). With Jesus Christ fulfilling completely and perfectly the righteousness of the law, through faith His righteousness is imputed to us. We can now come into the presence of God and listen to Him! The bright cloud clearly portrayed the time of God's favor had come.

2 Corinthians 6:2 For he says, "In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you." I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation. (NIV)

6 When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified.

The three disciples still couldn't help but fall upon the ground in fear and worship. The natural result of being in the presence of God, even for a believer, one of his children, is to see the sin the still remains. Though completely forgiven and declared righteous in His sight through faith in Jesus Christ, we are still acutely aware that we are saints who still sin.

Isaiah 6:1-7 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3 And they were calling to one another: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory." 4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. 5 "Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty." 6 Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 With it he touched my mouth and said, "See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for." (NIV)

In the atonement of Jesus Christ we have nothing to fear! This was something Jesus made clear to these apostles still on their faces.

7 But Jesus came and touched them. "Get up," he said. "Don't be afraid."

"Don't be afraid!" This was God's message to people who would follow Him throughout history. It was given by the prophets (1 Kings 17:13; 2 Kings 6:16; Isaiah 7:4; contrast also Isaiah 3:10 with 3:11) including Moses (Exodus 20:20), and even by angels (Daniel 10:12; Luke 1:30).

Isaiah 43:1 But now, this is what the LORD says - he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. (NIV) (Also Genesis 15:1; Judges 6:23)

The touch of Jesus could heal, make whole, and strengthen. In the New Covenant, through the indwelling of God, God gives us the strength to do what He requires. This external touch of Jesus foreshadowed the strength that would permanently become apart of all believers, to do right in God's strength, from the inside out. This is the contrast of the new Law of Love to the old Law of Sinai. What Sinai could not accomplish by externals is now accomplished internally by the power of God.

In Christ we are not left in the fear of the law and the prophets, but we live in the acceptance, strength, and fellowship of the Son.

8 When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.

Once we get beyond the law and the prophets, to the One they pointed to, we see Jesus and only Jesus!

Hebrews 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. (NIV)

Indeed we are commanded to keep focused on Jesus. The focus is never again to return to the shadow that was the old law (Hebrews 10:1), it's to focus on Jesus Christ alone and to listen to Him. In Jesus the old law has been fulfilled and we are made capable of upholding the moral law of God - again, from the inside out (Romans 3:31). The shadow of the Law and Prophets has departed; the conclusion of both is found in the Gospel, specifically in Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 12:1-3 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (NIV)

While Moses commanded that the law was to be bound on foreheads and hands (Deuteronomy 6:8) - something that religious Jews do physically to this day - in Jesus Christ, God's law (the law of love... Matthew 22:37-39) has been written on our hearts, literally a part of our mind and the source of what we do.

Jeremiah 31:33 "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time," declares the LORD. "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. (NIV)

9 As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, "Don't tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead." (NIV)

For these three disciples, this being prior to the fulfillment of Jesus' death and resurrection, these events were a sign. As such they were temporary, until in their fulfillment the disciples would experience these spiritual truths permanently.

Hebrews 13:5b God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." (NIV)

John 14:15-17 "If you love me, you will obey what I command. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever- 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. (NIV)

Peter, James, and John - witnesses to this event - were commanded to only speak of it when the time of its fulfillment had come. Until then, this physical illustration (truly a parable of actions) would not make sense to others.

In the years following, it's clear that these witnesses fully understood what they had seen. John and Peter especially spoke of this experience, pointing to it as a pivotal moment.

John 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (NIV)

2 Peter 1:16-21 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. 17 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." 18 We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain. 19 And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (NIV)

Now, following the resurrection, all believers should be able to understand the message that had been visually communicated to these eyewitnesses for us...

While the law and the prophets are important in that they pointed to Christ, we have the more certain message: "This is Jesus, God's Son... Listen to him!"


Written by Brent MacDonald of Lion Tracks Ministries. (c) 2005.
Duplication permitted as long as the source is cited.