You don’t hear too much about the Lord’s transfigure-tion. That may be due to the feeling that there is nothing practical about the event. Interestingly, the transfiguration marked a significant division in the Lord’s ministry. Previous to it His ministry was popular and public; afterward, it became basically private until He reached Jerusalem and died on the cross. What can be learned from the Mount of Transfiguration? Let’s join Peter, James, and John in Matthew 17:1-9. What do we see?
First, we see that Jesus Christ is the pre-eminent one! Impetuous Peter suggested making three tabernacles in honor of Christ as well as Moses and Elijah who appeared on the mount with the Lord. Immediately, a cloud overshadowed them and the voice of the Father said, “This is my beloved Son…hear ye him.” When the disciples lifted their eyes they “…saw no one, save Jesus only.” Jesus stands alone; no one supersedes Him. Before Him every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess (Phil. 2:9-11). In all things He has the pre-eminence (Col. 1:18).
Second, we see that the sacrifices of the Mosaic economy and the hopes kindled by the prophets all found their fulfillment in Jesus. What did Moses and Elijah discuss with Jesus on the mount? It was Calvary (Lk. 9:30-31). All the sacrifices under the Jewish system and all the utterances of the prophetic ministries pointed forward to Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of man. Is the death of Jesus a major topic of our conversation?
Third, we see that after a mountaintop experience there often follows the valley of disappointment. After the exhilarating experience on the mount, they met a mocking, jeering crowd in the valley below (Mt. 17:14-21). There is a boy writhing in the grasp of torment. We see a father whose heart was once filled with great expectancy that is now filled with hopelessness. In the midst of that scene Jesus quieted the crowd and said, “Bring him to me.” When others have tried and failed, there is Jesus. In life Monday always follows Sunday. The height is always next to the depth. Jesus can place us on the level plain of steadfastness so that we do not have to remain in the valley of despair.