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The Synoptics on the Transfiguration

Jesus and his "Clueless" disciples

Mark 9:
1  He said to them, "Most assuredly I tell you, there are some standing here who will in no way taste death until they see the Kingdom of God come with power."

2  After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John,
and brought them up onto a high mountain privately by themselves,
and he was changed into another form in front of them.
3  His clothing became glistening, exceedingly white, like snow,
such as no launderer on earth can whiten them.
4  Elijah and Moses appeared to them, and they were talking with Jesus.

5  Peter answered Jesus, "Rabbi, it is good for us to be here.
Letís make three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah."
6  For he didnít know what to say, for they were very afraid.

7  A cloud came, overshadowing them, and a voice came out of the cloud,
"This is my beloved Son. Listen to him."
8  Suddenly looking around,
they saw no one with them any more, except Jesus only.
9  As they were coming down from the mountain,
he charged them that they should tell no one what things they had seen,
until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead.
10  They kept this saying to themselves,
questioning what the "rising from the dead" meant.

More details from Luke's gospel:
Luke 9:31  who appeared in glory, and spoke of his departure,
which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.

Luke 9:32  Now Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep, but when they were fully awake, they saw his glory, and the two men who stood with him.

Thus this was not a vision or dream, but an actual historical event.


The main point of the Transfiguration was to get the disciples to realize that Jesus is more significant than the Law  represented by Moses, and the Prophets represented by Elijah.
Hebrews 3:3,4  For he (Jesus) has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who built the house has more honor than the house. For every house is built by someone; but he who built all things is God.
Heb 1:1,2  God, having in the past spoken to the fathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways,  has at the end of these days spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom also he made the worlds.
Prior to this event Jesus asks "Who do you say that I am?" Yet they mentioned many others had thought him to merely be Elijah or one of the prophets. The transfiguration put the matter to rest. He also spoke of his impending death. Peter rebuked him for this but was rebuked in return. Yet what did Moses and Elijah speak to Jesus about? His death and resurrection which he was about to bring to fulfillment in Jerusalem. This was kind of a second rebuke to Peter, who was one of the three disciples present. It showed that Moses and Elijah were in tuned with Jesus' thinking, while Peter was out of touch. Though we follow Christ, we may not always have the mind of Christ while we live in the valley. We need to go to the mountain top to commune with Jesus concerning the things that are on his heart. Are our prayers and thoughts dominated by what's on our heart, or by what's on His?

What is meant by verse 1: "I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God come with power." For the Millenial kingdom would not come in their lifetime. But perhaps we're failing to take this literally enough just as the disciples failed to take "rising from the dead" literally enough in verse 10. For here Jesus didn't say that the kingdom would actually come in their lifetime, but only that some would "see" it coming. "See" is "oida" in greek, which means to perceive. The apostle John records his vision of the coming of the kingdom in the book of Revelation. He had "seen" the kingdom of God coming with power. Some would interpret the Transfiguration itself as a fulfillment of verse 1. But I don't think so in that the coming of the kingdom is a very specific event as you can read on the 2nd Coming page.

NIV used in comments
The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources Jan 29,2022