The Glory That Follows
A remarkable event! There are four dramatic occurrences in this account that immediately capture our attention:
First, there is the glorious change in the person of the Lord Himself: Suddenly, as they were with Jesus there on that mountain, His countenance altered. His face began to shine, His garments became white, and His whole being radiated glory. What happened to Jesus? We can only understand this when we see that what He did was to slip back into eternity, in a sense, back into his pre-human glory. It is evident therefore that our Lord did not have to die.
That is one of the meanings of the transfiguration. It makes clear that He had no reason to pass through death. He could step back across the boundary of time into eternity without passing through death.
The second thing that grips us is the account of the heavenly visitors, Moses and Elijah.
The disciples seemed to have no difficulty at all in recognizing instantly who these men were. Jesus did not say, Now, Peter, James, and John, I’d like you to meet Moses and Elijah. No, they knew instantly who they were.
After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them.
There will be no need for introductions in glory.
The third element of great interest in this account is the proposal that Peter makes. After hearing these men discussing these strange events together, Peter, in his usual manner, interrupts: Master, it is good for us to be here.
This is tremendous! Let’s make three booths and live here. Let’s settle down here and make this our world headquarters. We’ll make one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.
He evidently has in mind that they would transform that mountain into the headquarters for the worldwide reformation movement that was going to start.
They would operate right from that mountain, as the center of all activity. That shows how foolish he was and how little he understood what Jesus had been trying to tell him. Someone has said that there are only two kinds of speakers: those who have something to say, and those who have to say something! Peter was someone who just had to say something.
So he makes this proposal that they make this their headquarters for a great campaign to take over the world.
But he scarcely had gotten the words out when he was interrupted, and the fourth dramatic event occurred.
Suddenly they were overshadowed with a cloud. It is my conviction that it was the identical cloud mentioned in the Old Testament, which hovered over the tabernacle during the day–the glory of God, called the shekinah. They heard a voice speaking out of the cloud saying, This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him.
There is no doubt that this is a correction of Peter’s brash statement. The Father Himself is saying, Peter, do not put Jesus on a par with Moses and Elijah.
You listen to Him. He is the one of whom Moses and Elijah spoke.
He is the one who fulfilled all the predictions of the prophets and the sacrifices of the law. Listen to Him; this is my beloved Son.