The Transfiguration was a prelude to the death of Jesus. It emphasised that it was truly the glorious Son of God who was about to lay down his life for the salvation of humankind. The Transfiguration also echoes the words of the Father at the baptism of Jesus, “This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased – hear him!”
In particular, the Transfiguration is a foretaste or representation of Jesus at his second coming – his return in great glory, which is the hope of the Christian. He is to come as the Lord, King and Judge, in the glory of the Father.
This is what we see in the passage from Daniel 7. We see described the judgement before the Ancient of Days in his glory and awesomeness, but we also seen one “like a human being (son of man) receiving dominion and power”.
Peter describes his eyewitness experience of the Transfiguration as an authority to make known the power and coming of Jesus. Then he says, “you will do well to be attentive to this as a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day comes and the morning star rises in your hearts.”
We believe and proclaim not only that Jesus died, was buried and was raised, but also that he is glorified! I wonder if John was referring to the Transfiguration in John 1.14?
And the word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as the Father’s only son, full of grace and truth.
Not also Colossians 1.15, 19.
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of creation . . . in whom all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.
How then might we respond to Peter’s exhortation to pay attention to the ascription of honour and glory to Jesus Christ?
- God intends the glory of Jesus to be revealed in great power at his coming, but also that this glory be revealed now in us in the church through unity, Christ-likeness and worship (Ephesians 3.21).
- God also seeks to reveal his glory, and glory of Jesus, within us as members of the Body of Christ, the church. “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1.24-27).
In his prayer in the garden Jesus said to the Father “all mine are yours and yours are mine, and I have been glorified in them … The glory that you have given me, I have given them so that they may be one as we are one.” (John 17.10,22)
2 Corinthians 3 describes the veil than Moses wore because his face shone with the glory of God, and then says that all of us, “with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of God as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Spirit.” God has torn apart the veil that stood between us and glory of God.
Recall the story of the dedication of Solomon’s temple in 2 Chronicles 7. The glory of the Lord filled the house so strongly that the priests could not enter and all the people were forced to bow down in God’s presence. The response to the revelation of God’s glory was worship, bowing down and rejoicing. Let us look for God’s glory – the glory of Jesus Christ – actually to be seen in the church (Psalm 27).
To sum up: we look for the glory of the coming of the Lord Jesus with hope, joy and awe. We seek to glorify Jesus as the centre of our own lives. We glorify Jesus and lift him up in the church through unity, by responding to the Spirit, and in worship. We lift up Jesus that he might draw others to himself.
Now to him who is able to keep you from falling, and to make you stand without blemish in the presence of his glory with rejoicing, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. (Jude 24-25)