By Colleen Donahue

We come now to an event called the Transfiguration which at the time of its happening was a complete mystery to the three disciples that witnessed it. After the death and resurrection of Jesus came understanding and clarity. From this we are privileged to see some practical lessons for our own life.


The Transfiguration - A Spiritual Mountain Top Experience

Studies continued from Matthew 17: 1-13 (Also recorded in Mark 9:2-13 and Luke 9:28-36)

Day 1- The story of the Transfiguration is told in three of the gospels. For our study here we'll look to Matthew and Luke's account to get the full picture. Read the accounts through in their entirety and then we'll look at it verse by verse.
Matthew 17:1-13 / Luke 9:28-36

Day 2- The Setting:
Through Peter's declaration, the disciples had finally and fully grasped the fact that this man Jesus whom they had traveled with for three years was indeed the Son of God -- the Messiah.
Matthew 16:16

Almost at the same time of this momentous understanding came the announcement from Jesus himself that He would go to Jerusalem to suffer and be killed.
Matthew 16: 21

In his sadness and disbelief Peter rose up to prevent this from happening but was severely rebuked by the Lord who had His face set to do God's will.
Matthew 16:22-23

We are left then with the Savior who knows a new step is coming in His life and with the disciples who are bewildered and sad. This was the situation at the time of this great event.

Day 3 - What was the purpose of Jesus going up to the mountain?
Luke 9:28

Day 4 - Jesus was at a major crossroads in His life. He never did anything without knowing it to be the Father's will and having his confirmation. So, at this important junction he steps away from his pressing ministry to ask His Father, "Is this the way to go?"
John 14:31 / John 15:10 / Hebrews 10:9a

Day 5 - If Jesus, the Son of God needs to get away to consult His Father, how much more do we? Prayer should be a daily, ongoing dialog with God. But especially at those times in our life when there is a major change we need to set aside extra time to get the Father's mind and confirmation. This cannot be rushed and will often require us like Jesus to pull apart from the daily routine, go up to our mountain (secret place) and fellowship quietly with God.
Psalm 25: 4-5 / Psalm 27:14 / Psalm 62:5 / Psalm 123: 1-2 / Isaiah 40:31

Day 6 - When we're up on our mountain with God what will we say and do?
Hosea 6:1-3 / Matthew 7:7 / John 16:24 / James 5:13

Day 7 - WHEN did the event of the transfiguration (Christ's body shining with glory) take place?
Luke 9:29a

The word transfigured comes from the Greek word metamorpho. It means a transformation of the essential form from within. It is a change that occurs from the inside out. This same word is used two other times in the New Testament and speaks of a believer's transformation. How are WE to be changed from the inside out (transformed) when we come to believe in Christ?
Romans 12: 2

Will we be transformed all at once?
2 Corinthians 3:18

Day 8- The significance of Christ's transformation was that the fullness of the Godhead that already dwelt in Him now shone forth through his human nature.
Colossians 1:15 / Hebrews 1:3

Day 9- Suddenly He was no longer just an ordinary man praying. How did he look?
Matthew 17:2 / Luke 9:29

It should not be a surprise that when Christ would appear in the form of God that it would be in the light. Why?
Psalm 104:2 / John 1:4-8 / 1 John 1:5

Day 10- When we as believers are transformed what is it that men see?
John 1:9

For what purpose does God use our transformation?
Isaiah 49:6b

Day 11- Two to three witnesses are required by scripture to substantiate any fact. Who were called upon to appear as the witnesses from Heaven?
Matthew 17:3 / Luke 9:30

And who did Jesus choose to be the witnesses from earth?
Matthew 17:1 / Luke 9:28

Day 12- The appearance of Moses and Elijah represented the whole of the Old Testament saints. Moses represented "the law" and Elijah represented "the prophets". What were they speaking with Jesus about?
Luke 9:31

No doubt God had sent them to Jesus to confirm and encourage him on. Christ's departure would mean salvation for men.

Day 13- This incident seems to have spanned much of an entire day for it says that Peter, James and John were weighed down by sleep. When did they actually witness Christ's transfiguration and the glorious appearance of Moses and Elijah?
Luke 9:32

We must be fully awake and alert to the things of God or we will miss them. If we are preoccupied with the things of life we will be unprepared to see and experience the things of Heaven.
Matthew 25: 1-13

Day 14- Peter was always the impulsive one that had to say and do something. He was now wide awake, recognized that something important was happening, and wanted to prolong the experience.
Matthew 17:4 / Luke 9:33

Notice the last phrase in Luke's verse that sums up Peter's babbling.

Day 15- What stopped Peter speaking even in mid sentence?
Luke 9:34

Day 16- The cloud was often God's presence throughout the Old Testament.
Exodus 19:9 / Exodus 34:5 / Numbers 11:25

Usually in the Old Testament the cloud was thick and dark but this time it was different.
Matthew 17:5a

A transition was occurring here. The Old Testament dispensation was full of darkness, terror, and bondage. But the New Testament dispensation would be full of light, love, and liberty.

Day 17- The voice of God that came out of the cloud spoke the same words as at Christ's baptism.
Matthew 3:17 / Matthew 17:5b

God spoke these confirming words the first time just before Christ's temptation and public ministry. Now they were being spoken just before His suffering and death. By speaking them twice God is establishing the fact that the good news of reconciliation with Himself was to be revealed in His Son.
2 Corinthians 5:19

Day 18- When God spoke these words this time He added one command. What is it?
Matthew 17:5b / Luke 9:35

Whoever would know God must listen to His Son and do what He says. God reveals Himself to man through Jesus.
John 14:6-11 / John 17:8

Day 19- Notice that when God spoke all became silent. Peter stopped in mid sentence. Moses and Elijah as voices from the past were now silent so that God could speak through His Son.
1 John 5: 7-10

Day 20- Is Jesus Christ YOUR Son? Are you listening to Him? Are you obeying Him?
1 John 5: 11-12

Day 21- Ever since man sinned and heard God's voice in the garden these extraordinary appearances by God have been a fearful thing to men. How did the disciples react?
Matthew 17:6 / Luke 9:34

Jesus, who knows are weaknesses turned his attention to the fearful disciples and did two things:
Matthew 17:7

Day 22- His tender touch was often for healing, but in this case it was for strength and comfort. Just a few words from Jesus can lift us up from our dejected, fearful states. In fact, one of Christ's errands to the world was to bring comfort so that we would have the courage to continue on with His work in this world after He left.
Isaiah 41:10-13 / Isaiah 43: 10-13

Day 23- When the disciples looked up what did they see?
Matthew 17: 8 / Luke 9:36a

The Lord will always be there for us when others have gone, when we are fearful and can't seem to move!
Isaiah 43: 1-2

Day 24- This mountain top experience gave Christ the confirmation and strength to carry the cross to his death. It also enabled the sorrowful disciples to see that somewhere in the events about to happen there would be God's glory in it. That is the gift of a "mountain top" experience with God. He strengthens and establishes us for the next step.
Isaiah 40:31 / Ephesians 3:16

Day 25- Like Peter, we'd like to set up our tents and stay longer on the mountain to enjoy all that we are learning. But it is never possible to live on the mountain for very long. Usually too soon we must go back to the valley -- back to our situations -- whatever they are, and face them with new courage from God. But when we come down from the mountain, Jesus will come with us and that will make all the difference. We take from the mountain top the divine presence into our valley.
Genesis 28:15 /Exodus 33:14 / Deuteronomy 20:1 / Matthew 28:20b

Day 26- What's our first thought when we've "seen God", "heard His voice" and have experienced the wonder of revelation? Did you answer, "Tell it to everyone you know?" If you did stop right there! What did Jesus caution and command them to do?
Matthew 17:9

What did they do?
Luke 9:36b

But why?

Day 27- To tell this glorious vision now when Christ was about to suffer and die would have negated it. But waiting to tell it after the Resurrection supported it. So it is with our personal mountain top experience. Having been in a secret place with God we may well lose the power, glory, and inspiration of the moment by sharing it with others. Learn to treasure the things of God in your own heart and wait for His timing to share it.
Nehemiah 8:10-11 / Proverbs 17:27-28 / Matthew 8:4 (Luke 5: 13-14 is the same event)

Day 28- This whole vision got the disciples thinking about what scripture says and they needed clarification of a certain point. I think it's a good example that when we don't understand what a verse means we should ask Jesus to explain it. Through his Holy Spirit he can lead us into the truth as he did with Peter, James, and John.
Daniel 2:22-23 / Matthew 17:10-13 / John 16:13 / 1 Corinthians 2:10

Day 29- We have mentioned at different times that in Jewish thinking the Messiah would be a conquering hero with the power to free the Jewish people from their captors. They also believed based on Malachi 4:5-6 that Elijah would precede the Messiah and reform the land, making the stage ready for the Messiah to enter. They were both coming as men of power -- or so the people thought. This was far from the truth and partly why Jesus commanded the disciples to keep quiet. What does Christ tell the disciples in these next verses that negates the current thinking?
Matthew 17: 11-12, 22-23

Day 30- Before men can preach Christ to others they have to be taught by Him. It is HIS message that we bring and not our own ideas. Jesus lays the foundation that His way with men is NEVER one that dominates and subjugates man's will. His way is one of sacrificial love for men. It is vital for all of Christ's disciples to understand the way of the Cross. According to these verses what was to be the outcome of Christ's way of change through the Cross?
Ephesians 2: 16-18 / Colossians 1: 20-22 / Colossians 2: 14-15

Day 31- You can almost imagine the disciples having to switch their message from a conquering Christ to a crucified Christ! How absurd and foolish this would seem to those they preached it to. But there is no true preaching without the message of the Cross. Yes, it will be absurd to many. But, there will always be those who are humble enough to receive this message. What does the message of the Cross become to those who hear it and believe?
1 Corinthians 1:18, 23-24


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