“There He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light” (Matthew 17:2).

In the transfiguration, we see the radiance of Christ’s face and the gleaming whiteness of His clothing that shone like the snow on Mount Hermon when it was smitten by sunshine. Jesus’ whole body was giving forth the same mysterious light, which made itself visible even through his clothing. His face was like the sun, in which the undiluted glory was seen, and His clothes were as white as the light. It is clear that the brightness came as a rising from within, not cast from without. Here we find indwelling divine glory, which dwelt in Him, suddenly shining through the veil of His flesh. John explains the event when he says, “We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

What was the purpose of the transfiguration? It was for the disciples’ sakes. The new epoch of Jesus’ life, in which they were to have a share of trial and cross bearing, needed some great encouragement. Jesus decided to let them look on His face, shining as the sun, for a remembrance when they saw it covered with shame and spitting and His brow bleeding with thorns. It was also for prophecy. In Revelation, John records, “His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance” (Revelation 1:16). While the disciples were gazing on Jesus with dazzled eyes, there stood by Jesus, Moses and Elijah sent to bring strengthening words to Jesus but also for the disciples’ sake. The Law, with its requirements and its sacrifices, and prophecy, with its forward-looking gaze, converged in Jesus acknowledging that this was He, the Deliverer, whom they had seen from afar.

Adapted from In His Presence