Matthew, Mark, and Luke all give us accounts of the significant event of the Transfiguration. Peter makes reference to it in 2 Peter 1:16-18 where he said they were “eyewitnesses of His majesty.” It was like a moment in time when the inward deity of Jesus was allowed to bleed through the body of flesh and shine gloriously. Consider the…
Connection To Jesus’ Death. Moses and Elijah also appeared at the transfiguration, and Luke tells us they spoke with Jesus about His upcoming death at Jerusalem (Luke 9:31). We see here the manhood of Jesus. Jesus was fully God, and fully man. While man may not be able to comprehend this fact, he must accept it by faith. From scripture, we can affirm Jesus’ full deity without denying His manhood, and we can affirm His full manhood without denying His deity (Hebrews 1, 2). Being a man, Jesus was tempted as we are, yet without sin; so, we can gain strength during temptation by looking to Him (Hebrews 2:17-18; 4:14-15).
Confirmation of Jesus’ Dominance. To the Jews, Moses represented the Law while Elijah represented the Prophets. Their presence with Jesus at the transfiguration represented the Old Law (Testament). But while Peter, James, and John looked on, God spoke from heaven and said that they were to hear His Son. This shows us that Jesus’ covenant was to overshadow and annul the Old Law as our guide in religion. Jesus nailed it to His cross (Colossians 2:14) and made it “Obsolete” (Hebrews 8:13). The Old Testament is still God’s word and can still prosper us today (1 Corinthians 10:11; Romans 15:4), but we can no longer appeal to it for authority for the things we practice. Whatever we do must be done by the authority of Christ through His doctrine (Colossians 3:17; 2 John 9).
Confusion of Jesus’ Disciples. The disciples understood the transfiguration to verify that Jesus was the Messiah. But, if Jesus was the Messiah, why hadn’t Elijah come first as was prophesied? So they asked, “Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” (Matthew 17:10). The scribes were correct (Malachi 4:5-6); but, they had missed the point that John the Baptist was “Elijah, who is to come” (Matthew 11:11-14; see also Luke. 1:17). John the Baptist did come before Jesus as His forerunner (Matthew 3:3). So, Jesus told them that “Elijah has come already, and they did not know him” (Matthew 17:12). “Then the disciples understood that he spoke to them of John the Baptist” (vs 13).