January 14, 2022 – Friday
Matthew 17:2 NIV
2 There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.
There is so much to unpack here. Let’s begin with There he was transfigured before them. [B]efore them refers to the three of disciples, Peter, James, and John that were with Jesus. When Matthew writes he was transfigured he used the Greek word metamorphoo, which we use today in the form metamorphosis when we describe a caterpillar changing into a butterfly. Unlike the caterpillar to butterfly Jesus was transfigured in front of them. One moment he is ‘like them’ and the next he is revealed in all his glory.
Paul used the same word metamorphoo to describe a spiritual transformation for new believers twice. First in Romans 12:2a, Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind and then in 2 Corinthians 3:18, 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.
Consider now the second part of this verse, His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. There are those who would compare this to Moses having a radiant face after meeting with God on Mount Sinai. But they are quite different. Moses’ face is radiant only after meeting with God, so his radiance is from what he absorbed from God. Jesus face shone like the sun, He was the source (like a sun) for the light that came from Him. The light from Jesus was from within Him and not a result of His Father’s light shining upon Him.
Unlike Moses, Jesus did not use a veil as even His clothes became as white as light. While His face shone like the sun, His metamorphosis was so great even His clothes became a light source. What is likely is that His whole body was like the sun which made His clothes also become a light source. The Believer’s Bible Commentary makes the interesting observation, Up to now His glory had been veiled in a body of flesh. But now His face and clothes became radiant like the sun and dazzling bright, a visible manifestation of His deity, just as the glory cloud or Shekinah in the OT symbolized the presence of God. The scene was a preview of what the Lord Jesus will be like when He comes back to set up His kingdom. He will no longer appear as the sacrificial Lamb but as the Lion of the tribe of Judah. All who see Him will recognize Him immediately as God the Son, the King of kings and Lord of lords. I find this credible as here we were given a glimpse of Jesus as He really is during the time of His transfiguration. Whether here in Matthew or in Mark or Luke, when we are given a description of Jesus after His transfiguration, the description validates what we read in John 1:1-5, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
One point not mentioned in Matthew that we discover in Luke 9:29, is that the transfiguration occurred while Jesus was praying. I can only speak from my own experience and what a few others have shared with me; deep profound prayer can have a transforming impact on the person praying from time to time. Perhaps this will encourage more prayer on your part.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Almighty God, Thank You for Your Son, who through His Word provides us so much light on how to live our lives day to day. – In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Riley D. Driver – Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton