Wednesday, August 8, 2018

The Transfiguration

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

Luke tells us that after Peter confessed that Jesus was the Messiah, Jesus took Peter, James, and John with Him to a mountain to pray. While He was praying, He was transfigured. What shone forth from Him was the glory of God, the same glory that had appeared in the burning bush and in the pillar of cloud and fire, the same glory that had shone for a brief time from the face of Moses.

Suddenly the disciples noticed that Moses and Elijah were also with Jesus, and they were speaking with Him about His coming suffering and death. The text states that they spoke of His “departure” or “decease,” but the word is actually exodus. From this, we see that Moses, who led the Old Testament exodus, is now discussing with Jesus a new kind of exodus. Through Jesus’ death and ascension, God’s people would be delivered from death into the promised land of a new creation and heaven.

Luke goes on to tell us that Peter wanted to put up three shelters for the three glorified men, so the event could be prolonged. As Peter spoke, however, the glory cloud of God settled over the mountain top and enveloped them all. A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him” (v. 35). When God finished speaking, they found that Jesus was alone.

This is the heart of the New Testament: Jesus is God’s Son and we are to listen to Him. Moses and Elijah have “passed the torch” as it were to Jesus, and God has commanded us to hear what He has to say. This is not optional: We must bow the knee. Much can be said for religious liberty in an earthly political sense, whereby we are free to choose whom we worship. But God does not give us an option. He commands us to listen to Christ Jesus.

Then the voice was past, and “the disciples kept this to themselves, and told no one at that time what they had seen” (v. 36). They continued to guard the “Messianic secret” until after the ascension of Jesus to heaven.

The veil of humanity that covered Christ’s glory was lifted and the disciples enjoyed a glimpse of His transcendent radiance. How they desired to abide in that moment! True believers have always yearned for such an encounter. Ask God to place a burning desire for Him within you.