What happened that day? Why did Jesus take his three friends up to the mountain to experience his transfiguration? How does this event affect us?
I believe it was a glimpse. The curtain was pulled back between the physical and spiritual realm and his disciples got to see the reality of the spiritual realm in full glory. It sent them to the ground in fear and awe, but Jesus’ response to them was to “Get up and don’t be afraid.”
Why? Because Scripture tells us that what they observed in Jesus also takes place in us.
I did a word study on transfiguration last week. I pulled out my Greek books and went to the Greek to get a better understanding on transfiguration and how it speaks to us today.
The Greek word is “Metamorpho” which is very close to the English word “metamorphis,” which in its definition means to “change in form.” The caterpillar becomes the butterly.
Here’s the amazing part of what I discovered. The same word is also found in two other passages: Romans 12:2 and 2nd Corinthians 3:18. What do they say? Glad you asked:
Romans 12:2: Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
2nd Corinthians 3:18: And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
If we take these Scriptures back into the Greek and use the root word “metamorpho” or transfigured, it helps to open the concepts. Let’s read them again:
Romans 12:2: Do not be conformed to this world, but be transfigured by the renewing of your mind.
2nd Corinthians 3:18: And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transfigured into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
Now, close your eyes and envision your body looking like Jesus’ body when he was on the mountain being transfigured. Do you see the brilliance of the light moving through you? Do you see your clothes becoming dazzling white? It’s hard, isn’t it? It seems much easier to focus on our own weaknesses and failures than on the glory that the Lord gave to us through his cross and resurrection.
But, as we just observed Easter and the reason for our celebration: Christ’s resurrection from the dead, let’s give him the honor of seriously considering his sacrifice and seek to follow his truth for our lives as his followers.
When I studied these passages, I observed four things.
The first is that our transfiguration comes about as we continue to align our minds with Christ’s Word. It’s a battle to stay aligned because if we can get pulled off course in our thoughts, our behavior will continue to stay the same. It is when we repent: change our mind, to align with what Jesus teaches us through his Word that we begin to see change, or transfiguration, take place within us.
The second is that it is through worship in the Spirit that we become more like Jesus. The moment that Jesus died, the curtain that separated the Temple and the Holy of Holies was ripped from top to bottom. Suddenly, the priests could see into the Holy of Holies because the barrier was removed. It is the same with us. We have a continual invitation into the Holy of Holies because Jesus removed the barrier spiritually. It is when we worship him that we recognize that we are being transfigured.
The third thing I recognized is that we are already transfigured. Jesus sees us this way, but it is in our alignment with Truth and our worship in Spirit that we are given the gift of recognizing what is already a reality for us. When Jesus cried out, “It is finished” on the cross, it was done. There is nothing more that needs to be done. Jesus accomplished the mission on the cross, and then he gave up his spirit and died. No one took his life from him.
Finally, one of the keys to walking through our lives in this recognition is to stand in our identity. The Father’s word to Jesus on the mountain is the same word to us. “We are his beloved children, in whom he takes great pleasure.”
What does it look like to lead lives as transfigured people?
As we align our mind with the Great Commission, we are commanded to go in Christ’s authority to make disciples. In other words, go to others to share the good news that Jesus has transfigured us. We look like the One we follow. As we resemble Jesus, our lives will look like the life he lived: connected to his Father, in community with his disciples, and his witness through living the Kingdom of God.