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Christ's Transfiguration

A Christian school teacher asked her fifth-grade class to draw a picture of the words, “Out of the ivory palaces” from Psalm 45:8. One student drew a picture of an empty throne. It was a royal setting. The image captured the glorious truth of Christ's coming from Heaven to earth to be our Savior (cf. Luke 19:10).

While on earth Christ looked just like an ordinary man as He walked along the Galilean shore. During a miraculous ministry, He caused the blind to see and the deaf to hear. Christ even raised the dead. Nicodemus and the Sanhedrin believed Christ was from God (John 3:2).

When the authorities desired to arrest Jesus and failed, an officer said, “No one ever spoke like this man” (John 7:46). The people heard him gladly (Mark 12:37). “And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from His mouth” (Luke 4:22). It was the plan and purpose of God to demonstrate the deity of Christ. This purpose was fulfilled in Christ's transfiguration.

Matthew's account of Christ's transfiguration is recorded in Matthew 17:1-8. The amazing event is also recorded in Mark 9:2-13; Luke 9:28-36; 2 Peter 1:17-18. The number of accounts emphasizes the importance of the transfiguration.

Jesus went with Peter, James, and John to a mountain top.  Mount Hermon may have been the mountain they ascended. It towered majestically heavenward 9,200 feet. It was a blessed uplift for those three disciples to be alone with Christ in such a blissful environment. Their lives afterwards were never the same.

The Lord was transfigured before Peter, James, and John. His face shone as the sun; His clothes were white as the light. “Transfigured” is metemorphōthē, which means, “to change form.” Transfigured conveys the thought of giving outward expression of one's inward nature, the outward nature being truly representative of that inward nature. There Christ's essence of deity manifested itself in glorious beauty (cf. John 17:5; Heb. 1:3, 8).

Moses, the great lawgiver and deliverer, was there. Moses may represent all who go to glory upon dying. Elijah, the mighty prophet and stalwart champion of God's will, was there. He stood against the wicked king Ahab and the sinful nation at Mount Carmel. Elijah may be an example of all those who go to heaven without dying, for they will be caught up at the rapture.

How do you think the disciples felt upon seeing Christ, Moses, and Elijah engaged in a discussion about the cross? Peter's emotions were such that in his haste he wanted to build three tabernacles: one each for Christ, Moses, and Elijah.

A theology professor of a bygone day, thought Peter might have been thinking, “Lord, this is the Millennium. Let us celebrate with three tabernacles: one each for you, Moses, and Elijah.” Of course, in no way, are Moses and Elijah to be equal with Christ, for He is God manifested in the flesh (cf. 1 Tim. 3:16). Peter had spoken in haste because he was not sure what to say (Mark 9:6). 

Heaven's blessing came with the overshadowing cloud in God the Father saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear you him.” Our plans are always to be set aside for God's leading and purpose. 

Upon hearing God the Father speak, the disciples “fell on their faces and were terrified.” Jesus came and touched them, and told them to not be not afraid. The Master's touch brings comfort in a time of fear. There are many fears man has in life. We must learn to replace fear with trust (cf. 2 Tim. 1:7).

Hear the Son in the call of Evangelism. Christ had compassion on the multitude (Matt. 9:36-38). The harvest of Evangelism is ready to be gathered into the fold of the Lord (cf. John 4:35). Calvary is the price tag of every soul (cf. John 10:30; Heb. 2:9). 

Hear the Son in the example of service. “For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Mark. 10:45). The word “minister” could be translated “serve.” The believer does not have to do any works to be saved; but, sadly, some never do anything after salvation. It is an often-quoted statistic that twenty per cent of a congregation, do eighty per cent of the work.

The transfiguration resulted in establishing the full deity of Christ, the Son of God came to reveal God the Father (cf. John 1:18). In the eyes of Christ, God looked out; in the hands of Christ, God reached out; in the feet of Christ, God walked out; in the compassion of Christ, God provided for man's salvation.

Salvation of the soul is the miraculous work of God to save from sin, deliver from death, and redeem from ruin. Glory and praise to God forever.

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