The Transfiguration of the Lord


Saints Stories for All Ages

The first three Gospels contain a number of passages that show Jesus’ divinity shining through his humanity. One of these is the passage on the Transfiguration. Some time before he died on the cross, Jesus took Peter, James, and John up a high mountain— probably Mount Tabor. There, while the apostles watched, Jesus’ face began to shine much more brightly than the sun. His garments became as white as snow.

Suddenly Moses and Elijah appeared, standing on each side of Jesus. The three of them talked together for a brief time about Jesus’ coming passion and death. Then Peter exclaimed, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah” (Matthew 17:4).

While Peter was still speaking, a bright cloud gathered and covered the apostles with its shadow. Then the apostles heard a voice saying, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” (Matthew 17:5). Peter, James, and John fell to the ground because they were so frightened. The next moment Jesus touched them and told them not to fear. When they looked up, there was no one in sight except Jesus, looking like his ordinary self.

As they walked down the mountain, Jesus told the favored three to keep the whole experience a secret. They were permitted to tell others only after he had risen from the dead. Perhaps Jesus gave these apostles a glimpse of his divine identity in order to strengthen their faith in preparation for the ordeals of his coming passion and death.

from Saints and Feast Days, by Sisters of Notre Dame of Chardon, OhioRaphael, The Transfiguration, c.1500, oil on canvas, Dulwich Picture Gallery, via Wikicommons.