As a little boy walking with my mom and dad through the county fair, I’d see men standing at the entrance to tents trying to entice people to enter. It might have been a museum exhibit, what we called then a “freak show,” or even something less than wholesome. Whatever was inside, they’d hold the tent door open just enough for a glimpse of what was inside with the hope that we’d buy a ticket.
From time to time God seems to pull back the curtain to give us a brief look into the unseen world.
Jesus’ transfiguration is one of those rare glimpses.
Jesus’ face changes, and his very clothes glow. Elijah and Moses also “[appear] in glorious splendor” (niv). The shining features of the three indicate for us a glimpse into life beyond this world. There is, indeed, a world we cannot see with our natural eyes where God works in mysterious ways to perform wonders. The disciples with Jesus see into this world, yet they do not understand. Peter ignorantly suggests he build dwellings at the top of the mountain. But Jesus knows he has been transformed for another purpose. Jesus and the disciples go back down the mountain and the disciples prove they still do not understand: They rely on Jesus to heal the boy.
Jesus’ transfiguration signals not a change in his work but that it is about to be fulfilled. After his transformation, he goes back to serving the people and healing them. God transforms us not to be set apart on a mountaintop but to go out into the world to serve others. This too is a glimpse of the kingdom of heaven.
Remind me, Lord, that as I pray I glimpse the unseen world. Transform me to bring your glory into this world. Amen.
God’s glory is always revealed, even if never completely. When Moses encounters God on the mountain, his face undergoes a physical transformation as a reflection of God’s greater glory. The psalmist reminds us of how great God is and how even Moses and Aaron bow before God’s throne. Paul refers to the story of Moses, but because of Christ, God’s glory is now more openly revealed. There is no need to wear a covering as Moses did, for Christ reflects openly the divine radiance. Luke recounts the Transfiguration, when the face of Jesus, like that of Moses, begins to shine. God’s voice reinforces the revelation of the Transfiguration, declaring Jesus to be God’s Son and the revelation of God’s glory.
Read Exodus 34:29-35. Consider the ways you provide evidence of your faith. Do you display it for your glory or for God’s?
Read Psalm 99. How do you seek a healthy balance of awe and intimacy in your relationship with God?
Read 2 Corinthians 3:12–4:2. What “veil” separates you from God—a sense of unworthiness, a hardened heart, a lack of understanding?
Read Luke 9:28-43a. Jesus shines with God’s glory, but then he gets back to his work of healing. Consider how God might transform you to do better the work you are already doing for God.
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