The Transfiguration

Matthew 17:1-13 records the Transfiguration of Jesus in front of Peter, James and John (cp. Mark 9:1-13). During that transfiguration Moses and Elijah appear on the mountain with Jesus (17:3). What is the biblical-theological significance of their appearance? And why Moses and Elijah? How does their appearance contribute to our understanding of who Jesus is?

HINT: There is a LOT that could be discussed here; feel free to explore any and all of those possibilities.

4 thoughts on “The Transfiguration”

  1. Might it be typological in that Jesus is going to move from the Mt. of Transfiguration to Mt. Zion like the LORD did in the OT. Also me might want to think about Jesus acting as a second Moses.

  2. Some have suggested that the presence of Moses and Elijah represents the testimony of the Law and the Prophets to Jesus identity and his fulfillment of the entirety of the OT hope.

    I would also note that Matthew bends over backwards to distinguish Jesus from Moses and Elijah when he states that after the disicples look up from falling to the ground they see “no one except Jesus Himself alone” (NAS, trying to capture the emphatic nature of the Greek). Jesus is not merely on par with Moses and Elijah, but as the Beloved Son he is superior!

  3. Though commentators differ on their identification, i think that Matt is right about the “law” and the “prophets” interpretation. Furthermore, what I have been kicking around for a while is Peter’s declaration about building “skene” or tabernacles. I actually don’t think that Peter understands at all what is going on here so he says something nonsensical. If you examine the event in light of the previous event (feeding of the 4k), then Peter is properly understood. In the previous pericope, Peter didn’t understand the veiled ministery of Christ, now Christ is completely unveiled and Peter still doesn’t understand! What do you think?

  4. Or I read the explanation of some that this is where Jesus-divine and Jesus-human meet, like in Holy Communion. This is a passage about who Jesus is, past, present and future. That is too Catholic…

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