About eight days after Peter had acknowledged Jesus as the Christ of God, Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him. They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. (Luke 9:28-31)
God calls us up to His mountain just as He called Peter, James, and John. Are we ready to answer Him? Before we answer we must understand the reason of His call. His call is to transform us into His likeness. There are those in the Church who will not listen to the call because they are focused on too many other things. On the other hand there are “spiritual” people who are seeking thrills and excitement. Often for such people the focus of God’s call is lost in peripheral matters.
Peter was distracted on the mount of transfiguration. He was overwhelmed by the experience and wanted to make three dwellings, one for Jesus, one for Moses, and one for Elijah. He knew the event was important and he wanted to preserve it. Nonetheless, Peter missed the significance of this event, at least initially. As Christians we must learn to value what is significant to our spiritual growth and what is central to the will of God.
Moses represented the Law of God and Elijah represented prophecy. Both are equally important to the faith because they reveal the heart and will of God. Some Christians might favor one over the other. Some might stop altogether with the Law and the prophets. Moses came down from the mountain and each time that he did the glory of God faded from his face. His transformation was not permanent. Elijah was bold before the Lord but we remember that he was nearly defeated by Jezebel. He did not have the staying power of God’s glory.
What did Jesus say about the Law and the Prophets?
“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. (Matthew 5:16-18)
Clearly Jesus tells us that both the Law and the Prophets are important. They cannot be set aside. However, they began to be put into a new perspective with the preaching of John the Baptist.
The law and the prophets were in effect until John came; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is proclaimed, and everyone tries to enter it by force. But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away, than for one stroke of a letter in the law to be dropped. (Luke 16:16-17)
On the mount of transfiguration the voice of God the Father which was heard in the cloud of glory tells the believer:
“This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!”
Neither the Law nor the Prophets can grant us salvation. Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets. Salvation is only by grace through faith in Christ Jesus. Yet the work of salvation is not static. The grace of God given through Jesus is designed to transform us from glory to glory. If we believe in Jesus then we must hear His call to us to come up to the mountain. We must listen to His Word for us. Furthermore, we must be open to His Spirit and glory to transform us into His likeness:
And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18)