How do you know someone’s story is true? By what standards do we judge a person’s evidence. This is a question that has plagued the judicial system for thousands of years. The Bible standard is seen in Deuteronomy 19:15, which says that the testimony of one witness was not enough to convict a person of a crime, but their evidence must be corroborated by others (a minimum of 2-3 witnesses). In the same way, the stories about Jesus hold more validity because there are many witnesses.
Just look at the gospel accounts. Matthew, Mark and Luke are known as the synoptic gospels. A synopsis is a general overview – and the 3 synoptic gospels all give an overview of Jesus life and ministry. It’s remarkable how similar they are and even though they were written for different audiences at different times in the first half century after Jesus’ resurrection they confirm many of the key aspects of Jesus’ ministry.
One such account is the today’s reading which we call the transfiguration (Luke 9:28-36). All three gospels place Jesus with three of his disciples on a mountain side. What we read demonstrated to three witnesses (Peter, James and John) who Jesus claimed to be. These men were human witnesses to the glory of God that was revealed in Christ. For a moment they saw Jesus for who he really was, as the glory of the God radiated from the inside out. But there were also three heavenly witnesses present at this event: Moses, Elijah and the voice of God from heaven. Therefore, the Old Testament law that required 3 witnesses to attest to a fact, was satisfied both on earth and in heaven.
The word ‘transfigured; comes from the Greek, “metamorpho” which means to transform (meta – change; morphe – form). The word is a verb that means to change into another form. It also means to change the outside to match the inside. Up until then, Jesus’ divine nature was “veiled” (Hebrews 10:20) in human form and the transfiguration was a glimpse of that glory. Therefore, the transfiguration of Jesus Christ displayed the presence of God, dwelling with people through presence of his incarnate son.
The transfiguration of Jesus Christ was a unique display of His divine character and a glimpse of the glory, which Jesus had before He came to earth in human form. The Apostle Paul’s wrote,
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form (morphe) of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form (morphe) of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:5-11).
We are encouraged to be like Jesus. To be transformed from the inside out. Romans 12:2 says that transformation changes the way we think and act and as we follow the example of Jesus, we too can reflect something of God’s glory to those around us.