The Transfiguration Why Did It Happen
Last week – on the offense against the gates of hell.
QUESTION: This week – what is this week’s scripture, how would you describe it? This is a glimpse into the fact that
there’s more to life than the physical aspect.
FOCUS: This amazing occurrence should cause us to pause and be filled with awe!
QUESTION to answer is: SLIDE Why did this happen? What was the purpose?
16:28 28 And I tell you the truth, some standing here right now will not die before they see the Son of Man coming in his
Kingdom.” 17:1 Six days later Jesus took Peter and the two brothers, James and John, and led them up a high mountain to
be alone. 2 As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed so that his face shone like the sun, and his clothes
became as white as light. 3 Suddenly, Moses and Elijah appeared and began talking with Jesus. 4 Peter exclaimed, “Lord,
it’s wonderful for us to be here! If you want, I’ll make three shelters as memorials—one for you, one for Moses, and one
for Elijah.” 5 But even as he spoke, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my
dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy. Listen to him.” 6 The disciples were terrified and fell face down on the
ground. 7 Then Jesus came over and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” 8 And when they looked up,
Moses and Elijah were gone, and they saw only Jesus. 9 As they went back down the mountain, Jesus commanded them,
“Don’t tell anyone what you have seen until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.” 10 Then his disciples asked
him, “Why do the teachers of religious law insist that Elijah must return before the Messiah comes?” 11 Jesus replied,
“Elijah is indeed coming first to get everything ready. 12 But I tell you, Elijah has already come, but he wasn’t
recognized, and they chose to abuse him. And in the same way they will also make the Son of Man suffer.” 13 Then the
disciples realized he was talking about John the Baptist.
1) List the unusual things you see in this story?
Jesus’ looks changed. His clothes changed. Famous people from the past appear. A bright cloud. A voice speaks from
the cloud. Moses & Elijah vanish.
This is indeed “other worldly.” It’s like a glimpse into the future, a peek into “heavenly things.”
2) V2-5 Why do you think Jesus chose Peter, James and John to go up on the mountain with him?
Perhaps they were best prepared and most receptive to this revelation.
QUESTION: Did Jesus love them more? No How do you think the rest of the disciples felt, do you think there was
some rivalry? There could have been competition. It was twelve guys. Later their mother get in on the act.
The real question for us is not about favorites. The real question is how prepared and receptive we are to 1) accepting
change 2) prepared and receptive to Jesus, to His Kingdom ways. 3) to giving up control and following Him.
TABLE: Self Examination > How receptive are you to giving up control – and – changing.
I commend you for sticking to the program you are in.
AN ASIDE > Which mountain? We’re not told. Mt. Hermon (near where they last were, Caesarea Philippi), Mt. Sinai
(Moses) and a couple others. We wish we knew but we don’t.
BACK to JESUS >
3) V2 How much did Jesus change and what do you think he changed into?
Matthew used the word metamorphoo, meaning to to transform or change in form. Probably Jesus assume is post-
resurrection body that was similar, but somewhat different from, his body at that time.
4) V4 Why do you think Peter wanted to build shelters/memorials? (Needs research)
Perhaps he was putting things together and this actually made sense.
Let’s see. SLIDES
Moses Goes Up A Mountain / Jesus Goes Up a Mountain
Matthew 16 Exodus 24
V1 Six day passed V16 the cloud covered the mountain for six days
V1 Jesus went up on the mountain V1 Moses went up on the mountain
V1 Jesus took Peter, James and John V1 Moses took Aaron, Nadab and Abihu
V2 Jesus’ appearance was transformed Ch 34 V29 Moses came down off the mountain and he was
So that his face shone like the sun. unaware that his face had become radiant
V3 Suddenly Moses and Elijah appeared V18 Then Moses disappeared into the cloud
V5 A bright cloud overshadowed them V15 A cloud covered the mountain
V5 God spoke V12 God spoke
Back to Peter, he wanted to build shelters or memorials for the people? Why, because he knew his bible. Way back in
time God gave instructions that the Jews followed:
Leviticus 23:42-43 For seven days you must live outside in little shelters. All native-born Israelites must live in shelters.
This will remind each new generation of Israelites that I made their ancestors live in shelters when I rescued them from
the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.”
This was done for what was called the annuals Feast of the Tabernacles. It was a seven day feast that looked forward to
the time when Israel would live in permanent peace and rest in the Promised Land – Israel.
Question: What was it the Jews wanted now? They wanted their country back. They wanted Rome out. They wanted
Peace and Rest again.
So what was Peter thinking? There have been prophets, but this amazing event on this mountaintop shows Jesus “the
prophet” that was the Messiah the Jews believed God told Moses would come. The Jews connected the Messiah to
Moses – and here Moses showed up!
Deut. 18:15 Moses continued, “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your fellow
Israelites. You must listen to him.
V5 But even as he spoke, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my dearly loved
Son, who brings me great joy. Listen to him.”
Peter, always talking too much. Right? OR, was God saying “YES, Peter, you understand what this is all about.” And
then God finished the story for Peter in V5?
BACK TO OUR ORIGINAL QUESTION: SLIDE Why did this happen? What was the purpose? God confirmed to
Peter, James, and John that yes, Jesus was the Messiah.
Peter confirms this years later when he wrote a letter:
II Peter 1:16 For we were not making up clever stories when we told you about the powerful coming of our Lord Jesus
Christ. We saw his majestic splendor with our own eyes 17 when he received honor and glory from God the Father. The
voice from the majestic glory of God said to him, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.” 18 We
ourselves heard that voice from heaven when we were with him on the holy mountain.
I hope and I pray that everyone in this room can say, it’s confirmed to me:
– that Jesus is the Son of God,
– that he was on that mountain and God confirmed it.
– that he finished his mission to provide a means for eternal life
– and we have all given our lives to him
– and our eternal life has already begun
– and one day we will be with Him
– and until that day comes, we will represent Him and share His good news where we live, where we work, where
we play, at any time and any place we have the chance.
That – is living the good life.
1Then the Lord instructed Moses: “Come up here to me, and bring along Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and seventy of Israel’s
elders. All of you must worship from a distance. 2Only Moses is allowed to come near to the Lord. The others must not
come near, and none of the other people are allowed to climb up the mountain with him.”
3Then Moses went down to the people and repeated all the instructions and regulations the Lord had given him. All the
people answered with one voice, “We will do everything the Lord has commanded.”
4Then Moses carefully wrote down all the Lord’s instructions. Early the next morning Moses got up and built an altar at
the foot of the mountain. He also set up twelve pillars, one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel. 5Then he sent some of
the young Israelite men to present burnt offerings and to sacrifice bulls as peace offerings to the Lord. 6Moses drained
half the blood from these animals into basins. The other half he splattered against the altar.
7Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it aloud to the people. Again they all responded, “We will do
everything the Lord has commanded. We will obey.”
8Then Moses took the blood from the basins and splattered it over the people, declaring, “Look, this blood confirms the
covenant the Lord has made with you in giving you these instructions.”
9Then Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel climbed up the mountain. 10There they saw the God
of Israel. Under his feet there seemed to be a surface of brilliant blue lapis lazuli, as clear as the sky itself. 11And though
these nobles of Israel gazed upon God, he did not destroy them. In fact, they ate a covenant meal, eating and drinking in
12Then the Lord said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain. Stay there, and I will give you the tablets of stone on
which I have inscribed the instructions and commands so you can teach the people.” 13So Moses and his assistant Joshua
set out, and Moses climbed up the mountain of God.
14Moses told the elders, “Stay here and wait for us until we come back. Aaron and Hur are here with you. If anyone has a
dispute while I am gone, consult with them.”
15Then Moses climbed up the mountain, and the cloud covered it. 16And the glory of the Lord settled down on Mount
Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days. On the seventh day the Lord called to Moses from inside the cloud. 17To the
Israelites at the foot of the mountain, the glory of the Lord appeared at the summit like a consuming fire. 18Then Moses
disappeared into the cloud as he climbed higher up the mountain. He remained on the mountain forty days and forty