With Peter, James, and John as witnesses, Christ is shown in all of His glory:
After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no fuller on earth could bleach them. Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses, and they were conversing with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here! Let us make three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified. Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them; then from the cloud came a voice, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone but Jesus alone with them. -Mark 9:2-8, NAB
Each year, there are a number of different feasts and solemnities that we celebrate in the Church. One of them, the Feast of the Transfiguration, celebrates this very verse. After heading up the mountain, Peter, James, and John witness a miraculous event, but what meaning does it have for us today?
Jesus healed the sick, made water into wine, and even raised people from the dead, but this miracle may have been more important than any of the others. The Transfiguration shows us who Jesus truly was – the Son of God. While many men and women have been given the gifts of healing and other miracles throughout the centuries, this one sets Jesus apart from all of us.
The light of Christ was evident in this moment. The pure white color of His clothes showed His ultimate purity as the Son of God. Moses and Elijah’s presence represents how Jesus came to fulfill both the laws (Moses) and prophecies (Elijah) of the Old Testament. In case there was any doubt, God even spoke to the three men, telling them, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to Him.” Clearly, Jesus was more than simply a mortal man.
Peter, James, and John were at a loss for words. Imagine being present at the moment. For some time, they had known Jesus as the Son of Man. Now, they were getting a glimpse of Him as the Son of God. How awestruck were you when you first realized that Jesus was more than some guy that lived a long time ago? Growing up, just from history books, I knew that Jesus existed, but when I realized that He was God, it changed my life forever.
We will not likely have the blessing of experiencing such a miraculous event (not in this world, anyway). Yet, this should not stop us from recognizing the majesty of our Lord of Lords. If we doubt what these men saw that day, we need to remember that Peter and James gave their lives as martyrs, and John spent his life in full devotion to teaching the Gospel. Would they have given everything they had if they did not truly believe that Jesus was the Son of God?
The Transfiguration declared Jesus as God’s Son, who came to fulfill the laws and prophecies of the Old Testament. It ties the Old Testament and New Testament together and helps to complete the Old Testament story. In the past, I had not paid enough attention to this miraculous event. Now, I hope to remember its true meaning, because, in doing so, I am remembering, honoring, and giving glory to Jesus, the Son of God.