The transfiguration (Matthew 17: 1–13)

Six days later, Jesus leads his three closest disciples (Peter, James and John) up a high mountain where they are alone. This is one of the most dramatic events recorded in Matthew’s Gospel and reveals the true identity of Jesus.

The word ‘transfigure’ means to change or be transformed. In this event Jesus’ physical appearance changes, “His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.”

The disciples see before them two of the most important figures in Judaism - Moses and Elijah.

Moses represented the law as God gave him the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai.

Elijah was regarded as the greatest prophet, so his presence represented the prophets.

Moses and Elijah’s joint presence at this spectacular event showed Jesus was the fulfilment of the law and the prophets.

The disciples reacted with fear. Peter, wanting to recognise the importance of the event, suggested building three tents.

In a similar way to Jesus’ baptism, a cloud appeared and a voice spoke from the cloud, “This is my son whom I love. Listen to him.” The difference being that this time, all those present heard the voice of God.

Jesus again warned the disciples not to tell anyone about this “until the Son of Man has risen from the dead”. The disciples failed to understand the importance of these words until after Jesus’ death and resurrection.