7 Facts About The Transfiguration Of Jesus You Need To Know

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Published by Kenneth Garcia


Co-Founder of Biblekeeper, Author & Theologian

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The Transfiguration of Jesus has been extensively discussed by many biblical scholars in various ways throughout history. It was seen as a divine affirmation of the identity of Jesus Christ[1] as the Son of God, providing evidence to his disciples that he was more than a mere human being.

From the Greek word μεταμόρφωσις (metamórphōsis), the Transfiguration means “to be changed in form or appearance.” It is essential to understand the biblical account of the Transfiguration, its symbolism and significance, theological interpretations, and its impact on Christian spirituality.

What Was The Transfiguration Of Jesus?

The Transfiguration was a miraculous event in Jesus’ life, recorded in the three synoptic gospels in the Bible: Matthew, Mark, and Luke. It is described as an experience wherein Jesus met with God on a mountaintop, where his face shone like the sun and his clothes became brilliant white.

During this time, he spoke with Moses and Elijah, who had come to meet him. In Matthew 17:5–6, God speaks from a cloud approvingly of Jesus. This magnificent sight was witnessed by Peter, James, and John, as well as a voice from heaven that proclaimed, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him” (Matthew 17:5 ASV).

This account affirms Jesus’ identity and mission from God. It was a reminder that Jesus is the Son of God, who came to bring salvation to mankind and fulfill the prophecies found in the Old Testament.

The Transfiguration also represented Jesus’ power over death and his divine glory, as he would soon ascend into Heaven following his resurrection. During this event, Moses and Elijah spoke with him about his upcoming passion, showing approval of God’s plan for our redemption. The disciples were given a glimpse of what awaited them at their master’s ascension into heaven: spiritual strength, eternal life, and heavenly delight.

What Was The Importance Of The Transfiguration?

In biblical terms, the Transfiguration has been viewed as having several important implications for the active ministry Jesus led.

Firstly, it affirmed Jesus’ divine identity as God’s Son by providing visible evidence that he had come from heaven to earth. Secondly, it served as an assurance of Jesus’ victory over death and the resurrection to come. Thirdly, it provided both the disciples and the Jewish leaders with additional confirmation of Jesus’ identity as Messiah and King.

Moreover, the Transfiguration demonstrates Jesus’ divine power. In the account from Matthew 17:1–5, Moses and Elijah appear before Jesus and the three apostles, Peter, James, and John.

At this point, a bright cloud descended on them with a voice saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him, I am well pleased” (Matthew 17:5 NIV). This display was meant to affirm that Jesus had come from God to fulfill his mission on earth as the Messiah prophesied by many Old Testament prophets and foretold in the New Testament.

The Transfiguration also served as a sign of hope that Jesus’ resurrection was coming. In Matthew 17:9 (NIV), after being asked why Moses and Elijah were present at the Transfiguration, Jesus said, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered to the hands of men. They will kill him and raise him to life on the third day.” This statement assured his followers that he would ultimately defeat death through his resurrection three days later.

person wearing white robe atop a rocky mountain

7 Things You Need To Know About The Transfiguration Of Jesus

The Transfiguration of Jesus was a pivotal event in the Bible that sparked a lot of debate and discussion. As told in Matthew 17:1–13, Mark 9:2–10, and Luke 9:28–36, it is considered to be a turning point in Christ’s ministry.

1. When And Where Did The Transfiguration Occur?

The Transfiguration took place on the high mountain of Mount Tabor, located near Capernaum in Galilee, Israel. Jesus specifically chose this location because it had special significance to him, as he often went out into the mountains to pray. It is believed that the Transfiguration took place around six days after Jesus had proclaimed himself to be the Son of God at Caesarea Philippi (Matthew 16:13–16).

2. Who Witnessed The Transfiguration Of Jesus?

It was Jesus’ three closest disciples, Peter, James, and John, who were present when the Transfiguration took place. It is believed that they were chosen ahead of all the other apostles to witness this event because they were deemed to be more faithful than the others.

3. The Significance Of Moses And Elijah In The Transfiguration

Moses and Elijah both appeared alongside Jesus during his transfiguration. In Jewish tradition, Moses and Elijah represented two aspects of life: Moses represented law and Elijah represented prophecy, as implied in Malachi 4:4–6. In this way, the Transfiguration demonstrated the fulfillment of both law and prophecy in Jesus’ divinity.

4. Peter’s Response To The Transfiguration

Upon seeing Jesus standing transfigured, Peter suggested that they build three tents to remain on the mountain with Moses and Elijah. Although he recognized that this new exodus had come, he had spoken these words out of fear and not because he understood what they meant (Mark 9:6). Nonetheless, God still used this moment to speak through a voice from heaven, declaring that Jesus is his Son, whom he loves; with him, he is well pleased (Matthew 17:5).

5. What The Transfiguration Teaches Us About Jesus’ Divinity

The Transfiguration is a powerful demonstration of Jesus’ true identity. Not only did his physical appearance change to reflect his divine nature, but the presence of Moses and Elijah alongside him confirmed that he was indeed the Son of God. This event serves as a powerful revelation of Jesus’ divine nature.

6. The Relationship Between The Transfiguration And Jesus’ Crucifixion

The Transfiguration was an important foreshadowing of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. As Peter witnessed this moment with Jesus, he was given insight into what would come later in his life (Mark 8:31). This gave Peter and all of us hope that Jesus’ death would bring a meaningful change to our lives.

7. How The Transfiguration Inspires Christians Today

Believers today are still inspired and encouraged by the Transfiguration of Jesus. It serves as an example of what happens when we allow God to work in and through us. This significant biblical event also reminds us that, despite how challenging life may seem, we can persevere in our faith in the face of adversity by looking to Jesus for courage, healing, and direction.

Lessons We Can Learn From The Transfiguration Of Jesus

First, we learn from the Transfiguration that God speaks to those who trust him. On the mountain, while Moses and Elijah were talking with Jesus, they were speaking directly with the Father through his Son. This was a beautiful depiction of how God delights in hearing our prayers. If we allow him into our hearts, we can be confident that he will always offer support and direction in difficult times.

We also learn from the Transfiguration that God desires us to focus on him and Jesus’ words. When Peter offered to build three shelters, he did so because he was terrified. Nonetheless, God used this opportunity to remind us of who Jesus is and what He was about to do for the salvation of humanity. In him, there is nothing to fear because He cares for us.

mountaintop bathed in clouds and a pink sky


Undoubtedly, the Transfiguration of Jesus holds immense significance in Christian theology. This miraculous event, where Jesus underwent a remarkable transformation before three of his beloved disciples, demonstrated Jesus’ power over all creation and affirmed that he is the long-awaited Messiah, sent by God to redeem humanity.

At this moment, we are granted a glimpse into what awaits us after our earthly death—eternal life, spiritual strength, and heavenly delight. Ultimately, the Transfiguration invites us to contemplate the glory of Christ and apply its spiritual truths in our daily lives.

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