The Transfiguration of Jesus
17 Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; 2 and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. 3 And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. 4 Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
5 While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” 6 And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid. 7 But Jesus came and touched them and said, “Arise, and do not be afraid.” 8 When they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.
9 Now as they came down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, “Tell the vision to no one until the Son of Man is risen from the dead.
Luther’s Explanatory Notes
Very much is contained in this history.
First, The resurrection of the dead and the future glory and brightness of our bodies are shown. For this was something very remarkable, that Christ was transfigured while yet in the mortal body, which was subject to suffering. What then shall it be, when mortality shall have been swallowed up, and nothing shall remain but immortality and glory?
Secondly, There is added the ap pearance of Moses and Elias, who prove by their appearing that they had never really died, and that there is yet another life, besides the earthly life, from which they were transferred.
Thirdly, This appearance teaches us also that we should despise death, and look upon it merely as an emigration or a sleep. In short, this appearance proves that this life is nothing at all in comparison with the future life.
Fourthly, This appearance proves that sin is overcome. For it necessarily follows as an incontrovertible conclusion, that, where death is overcome, there sin is also overcome.
But he permitted those three mentioned apostles especially to see this appearance, in order to guard them against the coming offense of his cross and crucifixion. Yet he accomplished little thereby, for they all were offended with him. Yet this appearance had its advantage after the resurrection, and served to strengthen their faith in Christ, that he was the Son of the living God, and that his kingdom must be regarded in a spiritual sense.
The whole holy Trinity appears here to strengthen the believers; namely, Christ in his transfigured form, the Father in the voice, and the Holy Ghost in the bright cloud.
Moses and Elias appear in order to testify that Jesus Christ is truly the promised Messiah, according to the law (i.e. Moses,) and the prophets, (i.e. Elias.) Compare Romans 3:21-22, and on the meaning of this transfiguration 2 Corinthians 3:7 ff.