The Story of Jesus

Transfiguration

After a long hard climb up a rough mountain slope near Caesarea Philippi, the three disciples were tired. Far above the quiet valley Simon Peter, James, and John looked for a place to rest. These fishermen were more used to rowing a boat than climbing a mountain. Jesus had asked them to go with him to the mountain to pray.

When the three disciples reached the top, they were too tired to pray. They fell asleep, and Jesus prayed alone.

While they slept, a great change came over the Master. His face shone as bright as the sun, and his clothing gleamed whiter than anything on earth. Two men came from heaven to talk with him. One was Moses who had written down God's law, and the other was Elijah who had spoken God's words to Israel. The three talked of Jesus' coming death.

The three were still talking when the disciples woke up. How amazed they were to see their Master clothed in such glory! In astonishment they watched as he talked with Moses and Elijah.

As Moses and Elijah were leaving, Simon Peter exclaimed, "Lord, it is good for us to be here! If you are willing, let us build three tabernacles - one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah."

While Peter spoke, a cloud overshadowed the disciples and they were afraid. From the cloud a voice said, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear him."

The disciples fell to the ground, trembling with fear. Jesus came near, laid his hands on them, and said, "Get up. Do not be afraid."

The disciples looked around and saw only Jesus. The cloud and the heavenly visitors were gone. Now they believed surely that Jesus was the Son of God.

The next day they climbed down the mountain. Jesus told them not to tell anyone about what had happened until after he had risen from the dead. Still the disciples wondered why he talked about pain and death when he, the Son of God, had been in such heavenly glory on the mountain.

Later when all the disciples were together, they asked, "Why do our teachers say that Elijah must come before the Messiah appears?"

Jesus answered, "Elijah has already come, but they did not know him. They went on doing just as they pleased. They will make the Son of man suffer also."

The disciples understood that Jesus was referring to John the Baptist who had been imprisoned and killed. Meanwhile a crowd gathered in the valley to see Jesus.


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