January 20, 2022 – Thursday
Luke 9:29 NIV
29 As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning.
We have been here once before on January 14th in Matthew 17:2 where we read, There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Luke does not say much about Jesus’ face other than its appearance changed. And while Matthew said Jesus’ clothes became as white as the light, Luke tells us Jesus’ clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. Mark didn’t mention Jesus’ face at all only noted in 9:3, His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them.
While few versions agree with the NIV’s description of Jesus’ clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning, the BDAG Greek-English Lexicon gives became bright as a flash of lightning. David Guzik concurs when he writes other descriptions, they translate a word that has the idea of “flashing like lightning.” And then adds, Jesus’ entire appearance was transformed in a brilliant radiance of light, a conclusion that cannot be argued with.
Both here in Luke 9:29 and in Mathew 17:2, there is the word became which implies a process or a period of time however short. This would correspond again to our knowledge of lightning that lasts only a few thousandths of a second yet is so bright the image remains on our optic nerves. Sometimes this happens with lightning strikes as the first creates a path between sky and ground where a second much brighter strike can take the same or nearly the same path. Wikipedia describes the average duration of a lightning strike as 0.2 seconds made up from a number of much shorter flashes (strokes) of around 60 to 70 microseconds.
Whatever the description used, Jesus and His clothes were overwhelmingly brilliant when He revealed His true nature concealed by His human body. The clothes brilliancy caused most likely by Jesus’ natural overwhelming glory. Also the change occurred while Jesus was praying. When commenting on this on Matthew 17:2, I wrote,
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. In reply to this a reader wrote in and said, I remembered praying for someone – and all was well within me after praying. Indeed – prayer can have an impact on the pray-er along with the prayed-for. Indeed.
Prayer: Almighty God, Thank You for showing us Jesus as He really is in His glory. And thank you for pointing us to the importance of prayer as well. – In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Riley D. Driver – Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton