Jesus’ Radiance –I
(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
The picture above is a representation of the transfiguration of Jesus! Here is what Matthew 17:1 through 8 says about it:
Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his bro- ther, brought them up on a high mountain by themselves, and was transfigured before them. His face shown like the sun, and His clothes became white as the light. And, behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make three tabernacles; one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” When the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces, and were greatly afraid. But Jesus came and touched them and said, “Arise, and do not be afraid.” And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.
There are several things we can learn from this account:
- Jesus didn’t call all His disciples. If He had, those at this prophetic scene would have included Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Him, and who would never see Jesus in His glory!
- It is only in Christ that we, as mortal human beings, can see God’s glory!
✡ Moses, in Exodus 33:18 had asked the LORD, “Please, show me Your glory.” But God told Him, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.” God’s glory is so overpowering that seeing His glory ‘head-on’ would destroy mortal flesh! ✞ In I Timothy 6:16 Paul writes concerning the Lord God: He “...alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproach- able light, whom no man has seen, or can see.” ✞ II Corinthians 4:6 – “...God who commanded light to shine out of darkness...has shown in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” ➔ In our mortal state we cannot look directly upon God’s glory...
➔ ...we can look closely upon Jesus by reading and studying what the Bible records concern- ing Him. And He said in John 14:9, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father....”
- Moses and Elijah were there talking with Him. In Luke 9:31 we learn they “…spoke of His decease which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.”
✡ These two men represent the whole Old Testament – what the Jews called, “...the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 7:12 – see Romans 3:21). ✞ What He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem was the cross, the resurrection, the ascension, and the giving of the Holy Spirit – the most significant happenings in the history of mankind! And since these two Old Testament persons were conversing with Jesus about these very things, it points to the fact that it was all quite apparent in the law and the prophets! For instance: ➔ Genesis 3:15 hints at the only method of death that would bruise the heal – crucifixion, when the feet are nailed to the cross! ➔ Psalm 16:10 refers to the resurrection! ➔ Psalm 22 describes the cross a thousand years before it happened! ➔ Psalm 55:12 through 14 prophesy His betrayal by Judas! ➔ Isaiah 9:6 and 7 tell us that “...the Son of Man...” (Matthew 8:20 – and 88 other instances in the New Testament) is indeed God! ➔ Isaiah 50:5 and 6 mentions Jesus treatment at the hands of the Romans Soldiers! ➔ Isaiah 52:13 through 53:12 emphasizes His hu- manity, His rejection, His substitutionary sacrifice, His death and burial, and hints of His resurrection!
…and many more!
✡ Moses disobeyed God’s orders to “...speak to the rock ...and it will yield its water....” (Numbers 20:8). ➔ “...Moses lifted his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came out abun- dantly...” (Numbers 20:11). ➔ He had struck the rock once before to bring out water for the Israelites, but at that time it was what God had commanded! (see Exodus 17:4-6). ➔ Because of his disobedience, God told Moses in Numbers 21:12, “Because you did not be- lieve Me to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.” And Moses never set foot in the Promised Land... ✞ ...until he appeared with Jesus on the Mount of Trans- figuration! What we can’t have in the flesh, we will have when we are perfected in heaven! ✞ I find it interesting that Peter knew who Moses and Elijah were the moment he saw them! Yet... ➔ ...Moses died 1,400 years before the trans- figuration! ➔ ...Elijah was taken bodily into heaven 850 years before! ✞ I believe that we will know one another instantly and completely in heaven...... even those we never had the opportunity to know in this life! ➔ For it says in I Corinthians 13:12, “Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.” ➔ How am I now known? The Lord knows me com- pletely! As it says in John 2:24 and 25, “...Jesus...knew all men, and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man.”
As glorious as this transfiguration scene was to behold, it was just a preview of what was to come! For Jesus is “…the light of the world.” (John 8:12; 9:5). We will examine this theme in the next two Gems.