Lessons from the Transfiguration

Mark 9:2 begins a recording of the transfiguration of Jesus before Peter, James, and John. This story is also recorded in Matthew and Luke, and most of us are pretty familiar with this event. This event teaches about Christ’s authority and glory as well as the transformation we should go through as his followers.

What Can We Learn from the Transfiguration?

Authority

Jesus is in the presence of Moses and Elijah. Moses is the liberator of the Jews. He brought the law to the people. Elijah is one of the most powerful and dramatic prophets of the Old Testament – demonstrating God’s power and authority time and again. Even at the end of his life, Elijah does not die. Rather, he is taken up.

In the presence of these two individuals, Peter suggests the building of three tabernacles, but the voice of Heaven elevates Jesus above Moses and Elijah. There is room for only one tabernacle. In II Peter 1:16-17, Peter recalls this event and reaffirms the authority placed upon Jesus in this event.

Glory

Jesus is transformed on the mountain. His spiritual glory becomes visible to those with Him, and Mark even seems to struggle in describing this event. This visually reinforces Jesus’ role as God among us. (See also John 1.) God’s glory is revealed in Jesus.

John 14:7-10 records Jesus equating Himself with the Father, and He claims that knowing Him is akin to knowing God the Father. Learning more about Jesus is learning more about God. In II Corinthians 4:6, Paul writes that Jesus is the light of God’s glory.

Our Own Transformation

II Peter 1:2-4 invites us to become partakers of God’s divine nature. As we learn more about Christ, we should become more like Him. Ephesians 2:19-22 describes Christians as growing into a temple of God – a place within God lives. To what extent do we allow God to live in us? In, Galatians 2:20, Paul describes himself as internally controlled by Jesus. He has remained unchanged physically, but his behaviors and attitudes are now more inline with what Christ would expect of His followers.

Finally, II Corinthians 3:7 contrasts the glory of the second covenant with the first, with the brilliance of the new covenant’s glory overwhelming that of the old. (This references Exodus 34:29-35 where Moses’ face would assume some of God’s glory after speaking with Him, requiring Moses to veil his face when speaking to others.) Paul uses veils to represent blindness in knowledge, but turning to God removes that veil. This culminates in verse 18 with us looking to God and the unfading reflection of His glory we should have within us – unhidden from those around us.

Conclusion

We can look at the glory of Jesus and God through His word, and our reflection of His glory should be growing every day. Jesus is elevated to a position of authority unattained by any other Bible figure, but, in all things, He remains dedicated to the will of the Father. He is unconcerned about worldly standards of success. He demonstrates kindness and concern toward others, regardless of external factors. Our lives should reflect that determination and these attitudes if we are reflecting Him in our lives with the goal of attaining that final transformation that will come on the last day.

lesson by Gary Fisher

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