Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray. And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white. And behold, two men were talking with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep, but when they became fully awake they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. And as the men were parting from him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah”—not knowing what he said. As he was saying these things, a cloud came and overshadowed them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!” And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and told no one in those days anything of what they had seen. Luke 9:28-36 ESV
For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. II Peter 1:16-21 ESV
King Codrus was the last king of Athens, and while he was ruling, the Dorians attacked his state. The king knew about an oracle that had said that Athens would fall to its enemies unless its king were to be killed in the enemy camp. King Codrus loved his kingdom, so he decided to disguise himself as a poor peasant and go into the camp of the Dorians. He killed an enemy soldier, and then this soldier’s comrade quickly killed him. The death of King Codrus saved Athens, and it didn’t fall to the Dorians. The king saved his people by his death, just as the oracle had promised.
This story from Greece is a lot like what Jesus really did for us. He knew we were doomed to the power of our enemies–sin and death and the devil–but God had sent his prophets to foretell the promised Savior who would save his people by his own death. Jesus disguised himself as a human person, but one day he went up on a mountain with Peter, James, and John, and they saw something amazing. They saw just a peek of the glory of Jesus, as his face was changed and his clothes shone a dazzling white. Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus and talked to him about what was going to happen to him, and then a cloud of the glory of God came to cover them all. The voice of God came from the cloud and told them that Jesus was his beloved Son. Peter and James and John never forgot what they saw and heard. There would be dark days to come when Jesus went to the cross, but in time they understood that Jesus had fulfilled everything that the law and all the prophets had foretold, and that the humble Jesus they knew had hidden the glory of the Son of God.
Often God’s glory is hidden from us as well. We live in a world of sin and fear and death, and we can’t always see or understand how God is with us and is working through all things. But God gives us his word to cling to–the word of the law and prophets and the apostles–to show that in the darkest of times God is in control and working out his purposes. We see this most clearly when we see Jesus on the cross. It seemed like a terrible, dark day when Jesus died, but we know that this had been God’s plan all along, and that Jesus’ death saved us from all our enemies. We not only see the sorrow of the cross, but also the glory of Jesus’ resurrection, and we know that a wonderful day is coming when we will see the glory of Jesus forever in his heavenly kingdom.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus to die for us, and for the glory of his resurrection. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.