1. Luke fixes the time of the Transfiguration as “About eight days” after the confession of Peter that Jesus is “the Christ of God.” After this profound confession Jesus speaks of his own departure (lit: exodus): his suffering, death and resurrection; followed by teaching about what it means to be his disciple: “If anyone would follow me, he must take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.”
2. Matthew and Mark fix the time of the Transfiguration as “After six days” (See Matthew 17:1-8 and Mark 9:2-8.) indicating that Jesus and his disciples are still in Caesarea Philippi. Matthew and Mark count full days; Luke includes parts of days. All three writers link Peter’s confession with the Transfiguration
3. Jesus took three of his closest disciples, Peter, James, and John, with him to a “high mountain.” The mountain’s name apparently is not important, although it is thought to be Mt. Tabor or Mt. Hermon. Jesus often went to quiet places when he wanted to teach his disciples something of importance. On this occasion he had in mind to bring them to the mountain to pray. We are not told the content of this prayer. Undoubtedly he prayed about his coming departure from this earth.
4. Jesus placed a high priority on prayer. He taught his disciples how to pray. He expected them to pray with him. Jesus invites us to pray.
5. While Jesus prayed his face and clothing became bright as lightening. Suddenly, Moses and Elijah appeared in glorious splendor. By this time, the three disciples who were “very sleepy,” suddenly became fully awake. They saw Jesus’ glory; and Moses, who represented the Law; and Elijah who represented the Prophets.
6. The Transfiguration of Jesus showed him to be truly the Son of God. The presence of Moses and Elijah established that Jesus was a fulfillment of the Old Testament prophesies concerning the Messiah. The time had come for God to glorify his Son.
7. In the Old Testament God delivered his people by the exodus. Now in the New Testament Jesus calls his exodus a way by which he delivers people from their bondage to sin. He does this through his suffering and death on the cross; and by his resurrection.
8. Upon experiencing this glorious splendor, Peter wanted to stay longer and said, “Let’s put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” Luke adds a note, “He did not know what he was saying.” Since Luke wasn’t present, he must have gotten this bit of information from Peter himself. Peter eventually understood what happened on the mountain that day. We also frequently do not understand the Scriptures. We need a revelation from God, just as Peter did.
9. Peter’s question was drowned out by God’s cloud of presence and his voice, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.”
10. That Jesus is God’s chosen means that a way of salvation has been provided. We who have no other way to have eternal life now have been promised it through the Lamb of God who took away the sin of the world (John 1:29). Our sin separated us from God but Christ Jesus has bridged the separation by the cross. No wonder that we are invited to “listen to him.” He is the one and only way of salvation.