And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. And Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.”For he did not know what to say, for they were terrified. And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.”And suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them but Jesus only.
In this passage, we get a picture of Jesus in His splendour and majesty. We see Him here in purity and beauty. We see Him shining with the glory of God. We see Him revealing Himself as more than just a man. We see Him here as the one worthy of our attention.
But what about Moses and Elijah? What are they doing there? Well, they represent God’s revelation. In Old Testament terms the represented the prophetic witness that Yahweh had graciously given to His people, the means by which He revealed Himself to Israel. By having these two power houses of God’s special revelation along-side Jesus it’s testimony to the reality that Jesus belongs there, as a prophet, as a spokesman for the divine.
The Office of Prophet
Q24 of the WSC famously asks “How does Christ execute (or carry out) the office of a prophet? And answers it by pointing us to His work of revealing to us, by His word and Spirit, the will of God for our salvation.
Notice the way the passage begins and ends with Jesus. Notice that He is the one transfigured. Notice He is the only one left standing there in verse 8. And then notice what is spoken in verse 7. There comes a voice from heaven – the audible expression of God’s special revelation. The voice centres the disciples on one of the three. The voice does so in order to clearly establish that one of these men isn’t like the others. It is of the one who is present at both the beginning and the end of this passage that this voice speaks.
This is my beloved Son; listen to Him. This is the heavenly assessment of who Jesus is. The divine Son. The heavenly Son. The beloved Son. And the injunction is that the disciples were to listen to Him.
A Better Word
Now, that is not to say that they were to reject the previously revealed word as it came especially through Moses, but rather they were to listen to Jesus as the originator and fulfilment of all that Moses had said. And rather than looking to Moses as chief among the prophets, they were to look to Jesus.
And thus the Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 31 points to the fact that Jesus is our chief prophet and teacher who perfectly reveals to us the secret counsel and word of a God for our deliverance.
And so we come to worship and adore and ultimately hear from The Word of God that was made flesh, dwelt among us, and in love laid down His life as an enduring demonstration of divine love for us.