The Transfiguration

In this episode, we study the Transfiguration, the event in which Jesus was transformed on the mountain before Peter, James, and John. In the Transfiguration, Moses and Elijah accompany Jesus as a great cloud appeared and the Father declares, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”

As we look into the accounts of the event in the synoptic gospels (Matthew 17:1–13; Mark 9:2–13; Luke 9:28–36), we explore the Old Testament context out of which the Transfiguration develops and the consummation to which it points. In short, the Transfiguration is a proleptic revelation of Christ’s consummate resurrection glory.

Matthew 17:1–13 says,

And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were terrified. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and have no fear.” And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only. And as they were coming down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, “Tell no one the vision, until the Son of Man is raised from the dead.” And the disciples asked him, “Then why do the scribes say that first Elijah must come?” He answered, “Elijah does come, and he will restore all things. But I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but did to him whatever they pleased. So also the Son of Man will certainly suffer at their hands.” Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them of John the Baptist. (Matthew 17:1–13, English Standard Version)

Participants: , ,

Christ the Center focuses on Reformed Christian theology. In each episode a group of informed panelists discusses important issues in order to encourage critical thinking and a better understanding of Reformed doctrine with a view toward godly living. Browse more episodes from this program or subscribe to the podcast feed.

Walter Hampel

7 years ago


Thanks for your episode on the Transfiguration. I appreciate that point was raised about Moses’ prayer to see God’s glory and how that prayer was answered with Moses being present to behold the glory of God in Christ on the mount of Transfiguration. I had read this point a few years ago in either Richard Sibbes or John Owen and marveled at the insight. I still marvel at it today.

Thank you for all your podcasts such as Christ the Center and East of Eden (I’m a big fan of Jonathan Edwards and I am just delighting in what I hear on East of Eden). You are doing such a great job in supplying great, accessible, Christ-honoring teaching.

Walt Hampel
Troy, Michigan

Jonathan Tomes

7 years ago

Thanks for the discussion!

I appreciated the observation from John Owen that Christ is Mediator even of the Beatific vision. There is a great discussion in Union with Christ (J. Todd Billings) comparing Calvin and Owen on this issue. We never get beyond the ectypal apprehension of the knowledge of God in Christ!

Tyler Cowden

7 years ago

Wow no one mentioned they thought Matthew 16 refers to AD 70! I would’ve thought even people who aren’t hardcore partial preterists would agree that that is a strong element in the latter chapters of Matthew’s gospel account… note the parallel with Matt 24:34 (and don’t try and argue the lame dispensational things about “genea,” etc. :p )


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