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Jesus, Trans-what? What in the world?

This is an incredible story we are about to read.

For the many years I have considered the gospel accounts, I somehow thought of the Transfiguration as more of a place, than the magnificent, meaningful, miraculous event that it was in the life of our Lord. What a milestone in the life of Jesus! What a revelation for the disciples.

Before you read verses from Mark chapter 9, a prayer: "Heavenly Father, give me the wisdom to understand the scripture I read today. Guard me from distraction, deposit the truths of your unchanging words into my mind and deep in my soul. Help me see what it means to follow in the steps of Jesus. Amen."

"And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. 3 And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. 4 And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” 5 He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” 6 When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were terrified. 7 But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and have no fear.” 8 And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only. 1

Wow. Let's unpack this. "Transfiguration" means that Jesus' appearance was transformed. The same Greek word for transfiguration also means metamorphosis, a complete change of form or appearance, a transformation. hmmm...

As we read, Jesus goes to a mount to pray which is not unusual though this time he takes Peter, James and John with him. Just days before this while in Caesarea Philippi, Jesus informed the disciples that he was on his way to Jerusalem where he would suffer, die and rise again.2 Think how this must have rocked the disciples' world...can you imagine--their leader, their Lord was to suffer and die?! Yet days later, Jesus takes the three disciples with him to pray... and his entire appearance undergoes a shining transformation, an indication that God the Father is present and at work, as Jesus shows his glorious self to the men. And at the same time, he is joined by Moses and Elijah, who were representative of the Law and the Prophets.

His Father, our Father commends Jesus: "This is my Son whom I love. With him, I am well pleased. Listen to him."3

Friends, what are we to take from the Mount of Transfiguration?

God truly is omnipotent . . . Master over time, he brings Moses and Elijah to confirm and affirm Jesus Christ before his disciples. Yes, Jesus is going to die, the one and only Son of God, on mission to save mankind. And yes, it was the right time for him to move toward Jerusalem. Later, when Peter, James and John recounted to others what had taken place on that day, (Matthew records that Jesus told them not to tell others until he had died and been resurrected4), the presence of Moses and Elijah further validate the greatness of the Messiah. In fact, Peter would write about what he saw: "For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 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." We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain."5

As Jesus' intent was to be in God's will, I think of you and me... we too must seek as our highest good to be in the Father's will--because really, who would want anything else, anything less? Just as Jesus prayed and sought his direction, we too must stay connected to the Father to know his heart, to be about his business. As we plan our lives, right down to a single day, perhaps we ought ask, 'Is this thing to which I am putting my hands what you would have me do, God? Is it in your will?'

Right down to our words, let us endeavor to follow Jesus' example, when he said, "I have not spoken on My own, but the Father who sent Me has commanded Me what to say and how to say it."6 Our words matter.

Finally, do not miss our Lord's tender touch as he awakened Peter, James and John. How I love the mental picture of that! 'Seems a foreshadowing of another time he would awaken them, does it not?

The Mount of Transfiguration ~ so incredible! Lord, won't you show us your glory? Listen:

We are meant to be transformed,


following in the footsteps of Jesus in the gospel of Mark, 29

1 – Mark 9.2-8, ESV

2 - Mark 8.31

3 - Luke 9.31

4 - Matthew 17.9

5 - 2 Peter 1.16-18

6 - John 12.49

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