Matthew 17:1–9 (NIV)
17 After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. 3 Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. 4 Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”6 When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. 7 But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” 8 When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.9 As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”
His Face shone like the sun
No one can ever look into the sun, as the billions of light rays can blind your eyes immediately in a second! And Jesus’s face shone like the sun, and I can just see Peter, James and John had to raise their hands to cover their eyes while talking to Jesus for that moment. I am sure it lasted may be for a few minutes. Then Moses and Elijah appeared to him talking to him. This is so angelic, so heavenly to be seen by mere mortals humans Peter, James and John.
For a moment, Jesus flashed his eternal glory in front of the eyes of Peter, James & John! Jesus revealed his glory and it was a blazing sun rays on his face. I thought they would have fallen to the ground and worshipped him, but they didn’t.
A Voice from the Cloud spoke to them about Jesus
The voice came from the cloud said “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”Then, and only then, they fell face down to the ground, terrified. We need to see some supernatural happenings to have that awe and fear. But apparently the sun blasting from Jesus face wasn’t enough. Though that voice form the cloud shook them.
The thing that really got me is that on the way down form the mountain Jesus told them not to tell anyone what they have seen, until he has been raised from the dead,
9 As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”
Jesus calmly told them to keep it secret his transfiguration
While walking down form the mountain, Jesus instructed them not to tell anyone what they have seen, until he has been raised from the dead. He said it as a matter of fact manner, and guess what the response of the disciples? This: 10 The disciples asked him, “Why then do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?”11 Jesus replied, “To be sure, Elijah comes and will restore all things. 12 But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.” 13 Then the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist.
I was kind of shocked. After seeing the most spectacular transfiguration of a man into God, they asked question about Elijah?? What’s wrong with them? They saw with their eyes, this man, Jesus, whom they had been following, actually transformed into divine glory like a sun blazing into their eyes. Theological term is transfiguration. How did they not bow down to worship and be empowered with such encounter physically with the living God? Jesus, walking as a man, though having performed miracles like walking on water, raised the dead, was nothing like this one, because his entire body transfigured into the glory of God.
Again what really shook me is that Jesus instructed them not to tell anyone, until he has been raised form the dead. He is talking like his death and resurrection is a foregone conclusion, foregone reality that will happen and must happen. And of course it exactly happened like he said. Isn’t he God?
Why did Jesus want it to be kept a secret until his resurrection?
The revelation of Jesus as God for a moment, should have shaken the world. But it was kept secret, until the gospels were published. But why did Jesus keep it as a secret? Better still, won’t it be cool if he transfigured before the 5000? Or even better, transfigured before Pontius’s Pilate and the legions of Roman soldiers and the Pharisees who couldn’t wait for his death? Wouldn’t that have shaken the Roman world and the pharisee world, if Jesus transfigured before them, and displayed his divine glory like a sun blazing into the eyes of Pilate and the Romans and Pharisees and his own twelve disciples and the women Mary? Wonder if history would have been re-written? But what will that achieve, the Romans began to flee for their lives? The Pharisees fuming and fleeing in fear? The disciples rising up and clapping their hands and worshipped the Lord Jesus? And then what? Jesus must be crucified and died for our sins, and that must happen. Of course the transfiguration won’t happen at the trial of Jesus. That doesn’t serve God’s purpose. What served God’s purpose is that short moment displayed for Peter James and John the three top disciples of Christ and be recorded in Bible for us to read and worship. I love it. The self-control displayed by Jesus is astonishingly impressive, while having all the power in the world to strike Pilate and the Pharisees, he held his peace while being slapped by the soldier, spit at by the Romans, whipped till bloody by the romans soldiers. He endured! Hebrews 12: For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
That is Good Friday. Three days later, He became legend. Jesus was resurrected from the dead by His Father, and he walked through the stone. Yes, the legend has risen. The God Man has finally returned to his God divinity. Seated on his throne in heaven now, still praying for us, his beloved people.