Transfiguration Topical Study

Preaching and Worship Resources about Transfiguration

Recorded in Matthew 17, Mark 9, and Luke 9, the transfiguration was that moment on the Mount of Olives when, in front of the disciples Peter, James and John, Jesus momentarily revealed the full extent of his glorious power by becoming a blindingly shining figure. Transfigured is a translation of the Greek metamorphoo, from which we derive the English metamorphosis. The word usually refers to a transformation from one state of being to another. As popularized by Franz Kafka's novel Metamorphosis, in which a man wakes up one day to discover he has turned into a giant bug, so most people think of a transfiguration as a change of state: You become something you had never been before. For Jesus, however, it was not a change of state so much as a change in appearance that revealed what he truly had been all along: the radiant Son of God. In all three gospel accounts, Moses and Elijah appear with Jesus, thus connecting the work of Christ to the law and the prophets (and thus to all of Scripture). Coming not long before Jesus' intense suffering and death, the transfiguration and the Father saying "[L]isten to him!" were a clear signal to the disciples that what Jesus had been teaching about the need to suffer and die was the truth. The shining appearance of Jesus, the presence of the two great figures of the Old Testament, and God's own words combined to give a giant stamp of approval on all Jesus was doing and saying as well as on all that was to come.

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Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.