Jesus’ Transfiguration is not just a magnificent scene in his life, it’s a sign of what Jesus wants to do in all of us, he wants us to share in his glory. Today, Dr. Sri shows us the parallels between Moses at Mt. Sinai and Jesus at Mt. Tabor during the Transfiguration. Most importantly, he reminds us how Jesus wants to change us so we can also radiate God’s glory.
Snippet from the Show
“Jesus wants to meet us in the valley so he can take us up the mountain of Transfiguration, and make us so radiant that we begin to reflect the glory of God.”
The Transfiguration is one of the most important events in Jesus life. In order to understand and appreciate the significance of this moment, we must turn to the Old Testament and look at Moses’ experience at Mt. Sinai in Exodus 24.
Moses at Mount Sinai
The Transfiguration has many parallels to the dramatic event that took place with Moses at another famous mountain- Mount Sinai. In chapter 24 in the book of Exodus, the Israelites arrived at Mount Sinai to be covenanted to God and sealed as God’s chosen people. While they were there, Moses led three of his closest associates- Aaron, Nadab and Abihu- up the mountain. While they were on the mountain, the glory of the Lord covered them in the form of a cloud for six days. On the seventh day, a voice called out from the cloud to give Moses the ten commandments on the tablets of stone ( Exodus 24:9-17). During their stay at Mt, Sinai, Moses’ face shone because he had been talking with God in the tent of the meeting. When the people saw his radiant face, they were in awe and afraid to come near him ( Exodus 34:29-30).
While Jesus was announcing the new covenant, he too went up a high mountain. Like Moses, Jesus brought with him three of his closet co-workers- Peter, James and John. At the height of the Transfiguration scene, God’s glory cloud comes down the mountain and overshadows them like it covered Moses and the Israelite leaders. While atop the mountain, his face shone brightly and the three apostles fell down full of awe, reminiscent of the Israelites’ reaction to Moses’ shining face on Mt. Sinai. Just as a heavenly voice called out from the cloud to give Moses the old law on the tablets of stone, the Father’s voice called out from the cloud to reveal the new law in the person of Jesus: “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” God’s voice spoke these words from the cloud on the seventh day ( Matthew 17:1) just as his voice called out from the cloud at Sinai on the seventh day.
As amazing as these similarities between Moses and Jesus are, the Gospel shows us how Jesus is vastly superior. First, Jesus clearly outshines Moses. Moses’ face was simply described as shining. Jesus’ face, however, is described as shining brightly “like the sun”. Jesus also radiates the divine glory so much that even his garments appear as “white as light” ( Matthew 17:2).
At the Transfiguration, we see Jesus’ glorified humanity which perfectly reflects God’s glory. We get a snapshot of how our own fallen humanity is meant to be healed, perfected and clothed with the glory of God. Jesus’ Transfiguration is pointing to the great work God wants to do in us.
“And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord 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 Lord, the Spirit.”- 2 Corinthians 3:18
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Dr. Edward Sri is a theologian, well-known Catholic speaker, and author of several best-selling books. His work with Ascension includes study programs such as A Biblical Walk Through the Mass, No Greater Love: A Biblical Walk Through Christ’s Passion and Mary: A Biblical Walk with the Blessed Mother. Several of Dr. Sri’s programs were filmed on-site in the Holy Land, and feature immersive video explorations of the sacred sites where Jesus, Mary, and the Apostles lived and died.
Dr. Sri is the host of the acclaimed Ascension podcast All Things Catholic with Dr. Edward Sri. Together with Curtis Martin, Dr. Sri is a founding leader of the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS), of which he serves as senior vice president of Apostolic Outreach.
Dr. Sri lives with his wife Beth and their children in Colorado.