Immediately after Peter’s confession of Jesus as the Messiah, Jesus began to teach the disciples about his coming death. This would have been a shock for the disciples whose understanding of the Messiah was one-sided – they focused on his kingship and the defeat of his enemies. After Jesus explained that he must be killed and then rise again after three days, Peter once again stood up and speaks first. Peter had the audacity, and foolishness, to rebuke Jesus for talking of his death. Jesus in turn rebuked Peter and revealed the Satanic forces vying for control over those closest to Jesus.
Following his exchange with Peter and the other eleven disciples, Jesus called over the crowd that had been following them and began to teach about the high cost of following his Way. Once again, what Jesus says doesn’t fit with the traditional views of the Messiah. Jesus understood this and he understood the questions and doubts swirling around inside the disciples heads as they processed this new teaching. So a week later, Jesus selected his three closest disciples and climbed up a high mountain where he would give them a glimpse of his divine glory.
When Peter, James and John had reached the top of the mountain, Jesus’ appearance began to change. The travelling rabbi with dusty feet and no beauty to behold was suddenly clothed in dazzling light that no language on earth has words to describe. Then appeared Elijah and Moses who began talking with Jesus. All three disciples were dumbfounded and did not know what to say.
Peter, trying to think of something to say, suggested they camp out for the night. But his suggestion is soon forgotten as a cloud of glory overwhelmed them and they heard a voice saying: “This is my Son, whom I love, Listen to him!” And then, just as suddenly as the glory of dazzling clothes and the cloud and the voice of God had come, it all disappeared.
The disciples were left standing alone with Jesus, dressed in plain clothes and surrounded by ordinary rocks and bushes. Among the mixed feelings of amazement and fear, must have been the unmistakable assurance that Jesus truly was the Messiah. Despite any doubts they might have had about the exact nature of his mission, they had just heard the voice of Yahweh calling them to follow Jesus and listen to his words.
As the disciples made their way down the slope of the mountain with Jesus they still had many questions and they would not understand the full significance of what they had witnessed until much later. But for now they knew that Jesus was who he claimed to be. He was the Son of God sent to earth to do the will of the Heavenly Father. He was the Messiah. With their own eyes they had seen a glimpse of his glory.