Posted 11/27/2004 9:59:15 PM

Jesus was a man, and He is also God. During His time walking around as a man, His deity was shown "only" in His sinlessness, His miracles, and His Word. Only once did He actually look like anything other than a man. Three of the gospels record the event Mat 17:1-13; Mark 9:2-10; Luke 9:28-36. Interestingly enough, their accounts are not identical, with each record adding unique insight.

The basic order of events was like this:

  1. Jesus takes Peter, James, and John up onto a mountain
  2. He is changed in appearance before their eyes
  3. He spends some time talking with Moses and Elijah
  4. Peter speaks up
  5. A cloud covers everything, and God voices His approval of Jesus
  6. Jesus and the disciples leave the mountain.
Why did they go up the mountain in the first place?
To pray Luke 9:28. Jesus often makes a point of getting alone to talk with his Father, and likes mountaintops Mat 14:23. Unfortunately, in a foreshadowing of things to come Luke 22:45, Peter, James and John can't keep awake to pray this time either Luke 9:32.

What did Jesus look like?
His face shone with light, and his clothes became white and gleaming. This wasn't just some special effect, this was the glory of God revealed for once!

What were Moses and Elijah doing?
They were talking with Jesus, talking about Jesus' upcoming sacrifice. Even though all of mankind was pretty much oblivious to Jesus' mission to save them all, obviously everybody in heaven knew exactly what was going on. Why Moses and Elijah? These are two of the most prominent, strong-charactered men in the Old Testament, revered almost as gods, as evidenced by Peter's suggestion to raise shrines above all three.

What's with Peter and talking?
Peter can't keep his mouth shut. While James and John are probably staring with their mouths wide open, Peter (as Luke says "without realizing what he was saying" Luk 9:33) pops out with a blasphemous suggestion, placing Moses and Elijah in equal rank with Jesus. Yes, this is a really awesome event, and Peter wanted to enjoy it for much longer, but he has the wrong idea, and this needed fixing. He'd just been trying to talk Jesus out of sacrificing Himself Mat 16:21-23; Mar 8:31-33, and still doesn't get it quite right of what Jesus, the Christ Luke 9:18-22, is going to do. We have a lot to learn from Peter.

What does God's voice sound like?
Before Peter has a chance to even finish his foolish suggestion, God wipes the scene from view, and declares that Jesus alone is sufficient, is please Him, and commands that Jesus be listed to! It's always been a terrifying experience when God audibly gives commands. (Moses and the bush Ex 3:6, the giving of the Ten Commandments Ex 19:9; 20:1,18,19) Not to mention, there would most likely have been plenty of the "oops" feeling with Peter and the others for having made the wrong suggestion.

Why the no-tell?
Jesus told the three disciples not to tell anyone what they had seen, until He was risen. This is consistent with His use of parables - delivering truth to His disciples, while keeping it from the Pharisees and others who did not want the truth.

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