This is the Lent 2015 series. We’re reading through Luke, from Jesus overcoming temptation in the desert to His crucifixion and resurrection.
Today we’re reading from the middle part of Luke 9. We read through the first part of Luke 9 yesterday. We stopped right after Jesus predicted his own death. Here’s what happens next:
The Transfiguration (Luke 9:28-36)
About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem (Luke 9:28-32)
The transfiguration happened when Jesus prayed. It could have happened anytime anywhere but it happened when Jesus prayed. There is so much power in prayer!
Moses and Elijah appear in “glorious splendor”. Matthew Henry writes “It was said in Matthew and Mark that Moses and Elijah appeared to them; here it is said that they appeared in glory, to teach us that saints departed are in glory, are in a glorious state; they shine in glory. He being in glory, they appeared with him in glory, as all the saints shall shortly do.”
Moses and Elijah, two of the greatest prophets, talk with Jesus during the transfiguration. Scripture tells us that the three talked about Jesus’ departure, and the suffering that was to come.
Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, “Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what he was saying.) (Luke 9:32-33)
I have to wonder if the disciples fell asleep while Jesus was praying and missed part of the transfiguration, or if the disciples sleepy state was an intentional part of the transfiguration so as not to overwhelm them. Either way the disciples are forever changed by what they witnessed.
While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and covered them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.” When the voice had spoken, they found that Jesus was alone. The disciples kept this to themselves and did not tell anyone at that time what they had seen. (Luke 9:34-36)
I think if it would have been me I think I would have run down the mountain and told everyone what I had just seen and heard, but the disciples tell no one. Here’s what Matthew Henry writes about that decision: “The apostles are here said to have kept this vision private. They told no man in those days, reserving the discovery of it for another opportunity, when the evidences of Christ’s being the Son of God were completed in the pouring out of the Spirit, and that doctrine was to be published to all the world. As there is a time to speak, so there is a time to keep silence. Every thing is beautiful and useful in its season.”
Peter, John, and James were witnesses to His majesty. The transfiguration showed the disciples Jesus’ true nature as the Son of God and prepared them for the coming passion. God is with us on the mountaintops. He is with us in the valleys. He is with us on the plains.
In Your hands, You hold the universe
At your feet, the nations of the earth
All creation glorifies Your name. -Lyrics from Glory, by Phil Wickham