The Transfiguration A Snapshot Of Our Future Glory

Taken from my article submitted to the Red Rock News
Jesus Transfiguration
Rev. Dona Johnson | February 4, 2024

Before the season of Lent begins, we are given a  glimpse of God’s glory and our future glory in the  transfiguration of Jesus Christ. It seems a little  crazy, but there was this moment on the mountain  where Jesus’ face, his clothes and body shimmered  with a brilliant glow of light. A light so bright it  looked much like polished steel when the sun  reflects on it. And then suddenly a cloud  overshadowed Jesus and his disciples Peter, James  and John.  

       The transfiguration is a famous and very  unique passage in the Bible and it’s not found  anywhere else in ancient literature. But it is  included in three of the four Gospel accounts of  Matt. 17:1–13; Mark 9:2–13; Luke 9:28–36. This  singular event gives us a clear picture of a  stunningly bizarre moment that provides us with  special insight into who Jesus really is, who he  came to be and how we should respond.

       Jesus’ transfiguration if only for one  second, is like a shutter that opens on a camera,  and we are given a glimpse of a dazzling gleaming  light. The glory of Jesus is revealed and then it  instantly turns dark again and then a cloud moves  over them. In Jewish thought, the presence of God  is often connected with the cloud. It was the glory  cloud that led Israel out of captivity and the hands  of Pharaoh. It shone so bright at might it looked  like a pillar of fire. It was in the cloud that Moses  met God. It was in the cloud that God came to the  Tabernacle. And it was in a cloud that God filled the  Temple when it was dedicated after Solomon built  it.  

       Matthew’s account says, “There he was  transfigured before them. His face shone like the  sun, and his clothes became as white as the light”  (17:2). Here we have Jesus taking on the glory of  God. Jesus in human form takes on the  magnificent, superlative glory of God. And then  suddenly Moses and Elijah appear. Why were they  there? Maybe Moses and Elijah were affirming  Jesus’s mission to save humanity saying, “Go on!”  William Barclay believes, Moses and Elijah saw in  Jesus all that history longed for and hoped for and  looked forward. 

       Jesus is giving his disciples and the world a  momentary look at what the future glory of the  righteous will one day look like. Through his life, we  are now able to enter the very heart of God. Jesus  is our ultimate reality. Jesus is God whom people  can personally know and come to love. Of course  this ultimate reality eclipsed many of the other  philosophies of the day. Unlike the Greeks who saw  god removed from human history, a god who from  a distance held the universe together in a  harmonious alignment. God is now found in the  person of Jesus who is both fully divine and fully  human. A God who is no longer detached from  human affairs but is now is fully attached and  committed to us with a love stronger than any love  we can ever imagine or experience. This is nothing  to gloss over—true intimacy with God! 

       This was a dark time in the life of Jesus as  got nearer the cross. His disciples must have been  shattered knowing he was going to Jerusalem to  die. Jesus shone them his glory to give them  something to hold to. And like his disciples, Jesus  does not leave us without something to hold on to  when doubts and fears want to darken our hearts.  Not only through the transfiguration, but also  through his death and resurrection God gives us  profound snapshots of our future glory. And this  gives us the courage and confidence to “go on”  too! AMEN.