One of the most amazing events in the earthly life of the Lord Jesus was the Transfiguration. The record of this event is given in Matthew 17, Mark 9 and Luke 9.
Eight persons were involved in the Transfiguration. There was Jesus—He was on earth revealing His glory. There was God the Father, who spoke from heaven, saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him” (Matt. 17:5). There were Peter, James and John, three of our Lord’s disciples. And Moses and Elijah came down from heaven for the occasion. “Who is number eight?” you ask. If you know Jesus Christ as your Savior, you are number eight! Every Christian is involved in this amazing event that we call the Transfiguration.
In these studies we shall look at the Transfiguration through the eyes of Peter, James, John, Moses, Elijah, and the believer today. Why are we doing this? To help us share the glory! If you understand the meaning and the message of the Transfiguration, it can change your life and help you become more like the Lord Jesus. I believe there is tremendous encouragement and help in an understanding of the Transfiguration.
“And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart [privately], and was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles [booths]; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore [very much] afraid. And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid. And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save [except] Jesus only” (Matt. 17:1-8).
This is the record of an amazing event, and we want to begin with what if meant to the Apostle John. What in the Tranfiguration experience impressed itself on him? John told us in the first chapter of his Gospel, verse 14: “And the Word [Jesus Christ] was made flesh, and dwelt [tabernacled] among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” When John saw the Transfiguration, he saw the glory of the Son.
At least three truths come to our hearts when we consider the glory of the Son. First of all, Jesus is the Son of God. That is why John said, “We beheld his glory” (v. 14). It was not the glory of a mere man on earth; it was the “glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (v. 14).
Just a few days earlier, Jesus had asked His disciples, “Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?” (Matt. 16:13). He received a variety of answers, “Some say you are Jeremiah” (see v. 14). Jeremiah was the weeping prophet, and Jesus was a man of sorrows. “Some say you are John the Baptist” (see v. 14). You could not have found two more opposite men than John the Baptist and Jesus! John the Baptist was a recluse; Jesus mingled with people. John the Baptist was a Nazarite, so would not drink strong drink, while our Lord Jesus went to a wedding feast and turned water into wine. This shows how confused people are about the Person of Jesus Christ.
Then Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do you say I am?” (v. 15, NIV). Peter spoke up and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (v. 16, NIV). At that point Jesus did not reveal His glory, but He did a week later. The disciples made their confession of faith, but they did not see the proof of it for a whole week. Then they saw Jesus in His glory.
That Jesus Christ is the Son of God is the major theme of John’s Gospel. “And many other signs truly did Jesus, . . . which are not written in this book [this Gospel]: but these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name” (John 20:30,31). God chose the Apostle John to write the Gospel of John, inspired by the Holy Spirit, and in that Gospel we see the glory of God’s Son.
© 2005 Warren W. Wiersbe
© 1989 by The Good News Broadcasting Association, Inc. All rights reserved.
Dr. Warren Wiersbe (1929-2019) was an internationally known Bible teacher, author, and conference speaker. He graduated in 1953 from Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in Lombard, Illinois. While attending seminary, he was ordained as pastor of Central Baptist Church in 1951 and served until 1957. From September 1957 to 1961, Wiersbe served as Director of The Literature Division for Youth for Christ International. From 1961 to 1971 he pastored Calvary Baptist Church of Covington, Kentucky south of Cincinnati, Ohio. His sermons were broadcast as the “Calvary Hour” on a local Cincinnati radio station. From 1971 to 1978, He served as the pastor of Moody Church in Chicago 1971 to 1978. While at Moody Church he continued in radio ministry. Between August 1979 and March 1982, he wrote bi-weekly for Christianity Today as “Eutychus X”, taught practical theology classes at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, and wrote the course material and taught a Doctor of Ministry course at Trinity and Dallas Seminary. In 1980 he transitioned to Back to the Bible radio broadcasting network where he worked until 1990. Dr. Wiersbe became Writer in Residence at Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids and Distinguished Professor of Preaching at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. In his lifetime, Dr. Wiersbe wrote over 170 books—including the popular Be series, which has sold over four million copies. Dr. Wiersbe was awarded the Gold Medallion Lifetime Achievement by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA).