In Luke 9, we read about something commonly called “the transfiguration.” Jesus and three of his disciples went up onto a mountain to pray, and something miraculous happened. Jesus’s physical appearance changed to show he truly was divine, and visions of two heroes of the Old Testament (Moses and Elijah) appeared with Jesus as well. As you can imagine, Jesus’s friends who saw this—Peter, James, and John—would have been stunned. And Luke points out that the three saw this as they were on the verge of being asleep, so that must have been quite the wake-up moment!
For them to see Jesus in a deified state like that is something called a “theophany,” meaning “God appearing.” There are only a few theophanies mentioned in the Bible, where people got to see a physical appearance of God in some sort of supernatural, miraculous fashion like the one Luke mentions. And with Moses and Elijah to appear alongside Jesus was an indicator Jesus was there to fulfill what God promised centuries ago—to send someone to restore people’s relationship with God and to make God’s people a blessing for the entire world.
The transfiguration was so incredible that Peter offered to build a shelter for each of the three men who had appeared. Now, these shelters Peter was talking about were most likely a type of booth used in one of the Jewish celebrations—a type of booth a Jewish person would come to for seven days straight. It was Peter’s way of saying, “Can we just keep this moment going for a while? Can it stay this way? This is incredible.”
Certainly, there was a reason God wanted Peter, James, and John to see Jesus, Moses, and Elijah in this glorified state. This transfiguration gave them a clearer picture of who Jesus was. For Peter to proclaim, “It is good for us to be here” is one of the great understatements of all time.
But that moment wouldn’t last forever. It was brief. The three friends would come down from that mountain with Jesus, and their ministry would continue. But it would continue with the memory of something that would inspire them going forward.
Occasionally, you’ll have some spiritual highs. Maybe it’s a song you hear at just the right time. Maybe you feel like God brought someone into your life that helped change you. Or maybe you feel like you were witness to a bona fide miracle. Whatever your moment was (or moments), it didn’t last forever. However, there’s no telling what God can do with that moment. From time to time, it’s good to think back and remember one of those moments. How can remembering it inspire you to live out your faith and inspire others to live out theirs?
“Heavenly Father, thank you for those things that inspire us to take the next steps in our faith. May we use them to grow closer to you and impact those around us. Amen.”
That’s it for this time. Read Chapters 10 and 11 to get ready for the next one.
On one occasion, three friends of Jesus got to see him in a way that no one else ever had.