“He was transformed in front of them, and His face show like the sun. Even His clothes became as white as the light.” (Matthew 17:2 CSB)
What an awesome experience that must have been! Peter, James, and John were invited up the mountain with Jesus to witness this event. Before their very eyes Jesus was transfigured. The word used for this is the one that gives us our word “metamorphosis,” which is the process we use to describe how a caterpillar is transformed into a butterfly. The appearance of Jesus’ face and His clothes as well were transfigured and glowed brightly with brilliant light. Moses and Elijah appeared and spoke with Jesus. Since Peter, James, and John had never met those two, it is likely that they knew this either because Jesus spoke their names or later told them that it was Moses and Elijah. What terrified Peter, James, and John the most, however, was when a bright cloud enveloped them and they heard a voice that said, “This is My beloved Son. I take delight in Him. Listen to Him!” Jesus then led them down the mountain, with the command that they not tell anyone about the event until after the resurrection. The reason for this was something scholars call “the messianic secret,” which means that Jesus did not want some aspects of His experiences revealed to the public, because He wanted to prevent people from coming to try to make Him an earthly king.
Things are not always the way they appear to be. We live in this physical reality, and to us that is what constitutes reality. We do not know anything else, experientially at least. So, we have a tendency to think that what we see is what we get. But the transfiguration of Jesus teaches us that there is another reality, a higher reality and existence. It teaches us that the reality we know here on this earth pales by comparison to the reality to which we are going as believers, and that that reality will be brilliant with light and glory from the presence of God. In a words, we call this “heaven.” And for us, there will come a “transfiguration” that will usher us into the very presence of the Lord Jesus Himself.
Something to look forward to.
Lord, We thank You for this brief “revelation” of heaven that gives us such assurance and peace. Amen.