In St Luke’s recording of Jesus’ transfiguration, it is clear that God is positioning Jesus as an authority above the prophets who had gone before. This does not diminish the teachings of the Old Testament prophets in any way, though, because in Matthew 5:17-18 Jesus said he had come to fulfil the laws received by the prophets.
We know that Jesus was about to face terrible suffering and humiliation before his death on the cross. He would have needed every ounce of strength he possessed to get through the ordeal. Perhaps God was also giving him extra power and support during the transfiguration?
Maybe Elijah, representing all the prophets, appeared to encourage Jesus and assure him God would give him the strength to endure and that angels would be there to minister to him. Because Elijah had struggled through excessively hard times during his life on this earth, at one point, he was so exhausted he could not carry on, and God sent angels to strengthen, encourage and care for him.
Likewise, Moses, representing the lawmaker, was too tired to carry on at times. He was even too tired to hold up his at one point; God sent people to hold his hands up for him. Perhaps these two prophets were sent by God to assure Jesus that people and angels would stand by him through the awful ordeal he faced?
While some Christians believe the transfiguration was about strengthening Jesus before his crucifixion, others believe it gave the disciples strength to carry on after His death. Both views are equally valid.
Ultimately though, I believe the picture of Jesus transfigured in all his glory can sustain us all in the darker phases of our lives still today, help us continue in our personal growth, and help us draw ever closer to Christ.
Maybe you are tired and exhausted and lack the strength to carry on. You are not alone; Jesus must have felt overwhelmed; Moses and Elijah didn’t think they could go on in their own power. Many people in today’s world have recovered their strength and hope through Jesus – I am one of them.
Today, the world is ever more bewildering, and it is increasingly difficult to understand how God is working amongst us. However, this message is eternal and unchanging. Even when we don’t know what is going on around us, if we live by the word of Jesus, he will guide and form us.
God’s creation can often help to describe a difficult concept. The beautiful butterfly develops from a plain caterpillar through a process called metamorphosis, a Greek word meaning transformation or change.
Allowing Jesus to nurture and form us gradually transforms our spirit; this helps us eventually achieve our ultimate destiny in Jesus.
Could you live in the hope that people or angels even, will guide and protect you as you explore this way of thinking?
28 Now about eight days after these sayings Jesus[a] took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray.
29 And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white.
30 Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him.
31 They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.
32 Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake,[b] they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him.
33 Just as they were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings,”[c] one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah”—not knowing what he said.
34 While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud.
35 Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my Son, my Chosen;”[d] listen to him!”
36 When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they had seen.
The Red Admiral Butterfly