Glorious Image Bearers
The Son is the radiance of God’s glory, and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After [Jesus] had provided purification for sins, he sat down on the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. Hebrews 1:3
Preparing for the journey to Jerusalem and the final days with His disciples, Jesus took Peter, James, and John with Him and climbed a mountain to pray.
There He was transfigured before them.* “His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus” (Mark 9:3-4). Their appearance, along with the change in Jesus, frightened the disciples. But Peter said, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”
Then God spoke from a cloud, “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!” (v. 7). In other words, when you are so frightened you don’t know what to say, just listen! And as suddenly as the men had appeared, they left, and the disciples saw no one except Jesus.
What was the purpose of this meeting? Luke’s gospel tells us that Moses, Elijah and Jesus spoke about His departure “which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem” (Luke 9:31). The two men that stood with Jesus signified His fulfillment of both the Law (Moses) and the Prophets (Elijah).
Jesus also fulfilled the role of God’s image bearer. Genesis 1:27 says that God created man in His own image, but the first Adam failed to bear God’s image. Adam’s third son, Seth, is described as being made in his father’s likeness—in Adam’s image, not God’s (Genesis 5:3). Jesus is called “the last Adam” (1 Corinthians 15:45) and is described as “the brightness of [God’s] glory, and the express image of [God’s] person (Hebrews 1:3 KJV).
How do we serve such a Lord? Be conformed to His image: “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified” (Romans 8:29-30 NIV2011).
If we love God and want to please Him, we will serve Him humbly, reflect His glory, and listen for His voice.
What other details about this scene do you see in Luke 9:28-32? Compare Luke’s account with Mark’s. What was different in Mark’s account?
What was done in Jesus Christ’ s name according to Acts 3:1-10 and 5:12-42? Can you think of other things that Christians have done “Jesus Christ’ s name”? What have you done “in Jesus Christ’ s name”?
What was John’s reaction to the transfigured Christ he saw years later on Patmos as described in Revelation 1:14-16?
Nancy J. Baker
*Note: The American Heritage Dictionary defines transfigure as “alter radically, to glorify.” Another word that comes to mind is transcend meaning “to pass beyond a human limit; to exist above and independent of material experience or the universe.”
(The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1981,1362-63)