The story of Jesus’ transfiguration is told by Mathew in chapter 17, verse 1-9. You might recall that Peter, James, and John are taken up a mountain where Jesus’ appearance is transformed and the Bible tells us that his face shown like the sun, while his clothes were as white as light. Two visitors also appear with Jesus; Moses and Elijah, and they have some sort of conversation with him. Obviously this scene is a lot to take in for the three disciples and at one point a voice calls out from the cloud, they hide their faces. God speaks a blessing on Jesus and then the three disciples look up…and the text says the following:
17:8 And then they looked up, Moses and Elijah were gone, and they saw only Jesus.
Now, it should be noted that throughout the book of Matthew, Jesus is seen as a lawgiver, a type of Moses, and a prophet, a type of Elijah. The New Testament writers relied heavily on typology to show how this person and this set of events are connected to the larger story of God’s relationship with His people. Therefore, we see Jesus teaching on mountains, interpreting the law, feeding people in the wilderness area like Moses. Additionally, we see Jesus raising the dead, healing the sick, and pronouncing God’s wrath on the unfaithful religious establishment. Therefore, Matthew is making a case that Jesus stands in line of the greatest leaders in Jewish history (not to mention the connections with David as well)
But Jesus is a type and he is more than a type. Right? Sure, Jesus stands in the holiness (that is law abiding) tradition of Moses and leads the people to respect and obedience of the law. Sure, Jesus stands in the prophetic tradition of Elijah and calls the people back to the aspects of the heart and mind that truly matter…not the outward appearance of worship rituals. But Jesus is beyond both of these leaders, and Jesus’ calling is superior and greater in every aspect than the careers of both Elijah and Moses.
It is highly appropriate for the text to remind us that when all of these people and when all of the magnificent sights disappeared, there still remained Jesus. I’m not sure what brought you to Jesus, or even who helped bring you to Jesus. I’m not sure how you make sense of the story, or the resurrection, or the claim that Jesus is seated in victory at the right hand of God. But this I know…when all else fades away into the blackness of memory and knowledge, there standing before us is Jesus and we must take him for exactly who he is. However we get to him, it is only him that we need to really see and believe.
I want to share thoughts, insights, and scriptures that lead us in the direction of Christ.