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Transfiguration of Jesus
Fourth Luminous Mystery of the Rosary

The Transfiguration of Jesus - Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary
Transfiguration - Carl Bloch - 1872

Introduction

The Transfiguration of Jesus, one of the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary, is a profound event recounted in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. It takes place when Jesus, accompanied by three of his closest disciples, Peter, James, and John, ascends a high mountain to pray. During this moment of prayer, something extraordinary occurs: Jesus’ appearance is transfigured, or transformed, before their eyes. His face begins to shine like the sun, and his clothes become dazzlingly bright, revealing his divine glory.

Adding to the awe-inspiring scene, the figures of Moses and Elijah, representing the Law and the Prophets respectively, appear and converse with Jesus. This encounter symbolizes the continuity and fulfillment of the Old Testament in Jesus Christ, affirming his identity as the long-awaited Messiah.

In response to this remarkable sight, Peter suggests building three shelters—one each for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah—out of reverence and a desire to prolong the divine moment. However, before Peter’s plan can be realized, a voice from heaven interrupts, declaring, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” (Matthew 17:5). This divine affirmation underscores Jesus’ unique status as the beloved Son of God and emphasizes the importance of paying heed to his teachings above all else.

The Transfiguration serves several key purposes in the overall narrative of Jesus’ ministry. Firstly, it provides a glimpse of Jesus’ true nature as the divine Son of God, affirming his identity and mission to the disciples. Secondly, it strengthens the faith of Peter, James, and John, preparing them for the trials and challenges they will face in the days to come, particularly Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross. Lastly, the Transfiguration serves as a foreshadowing of Jesus’ resurrection, offering a glimpse of the glory that awaits him after his passion and death.

Following the Transfiguration, Jesus instructs his disciples to keep silent about what they have witnessed until after his resurrection. This directive highlights the timing of Jesus’ revelation and the unfolding of God’s plan of salvation.

In summary, the Transfiguration of Jesus is a pivotal event in the Gospels, revealing his divine glory, confirming his identity as the Son of God, and providing assurance of his ultimate triumph over sin and death. It invites believers to contemplate the majesty and splendor of Christ’s divine nature and to find hope and assurance in the promise of future glory for all who believe in him.

Scriptures of the Transfiguration of Jesus

Matthew 17:1-9

After six days Jesus taketh unto him Peter and James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into a high mountain apart: And he was transfigured before them. His face did shine as the sun: and his garments became white as snow. And behold there appeared to them Moses and Elias talking with him. And Peter answering, said to Jesus: Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles, one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. As he was yet speaking, behold a bright cloud overshadowed them. And lo, a voice out of the cloud, saying: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased: hear ye him.

And the disciples hearing, fell upon their face, and were very much afraid. Jesus came and touched them: and said to them, Arise, and fear not. And they lifting up their eyes saw no one but only Jesus.

And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying: Tell the vision to no man, till the Son of man be risen from the dead.

Transfiguration of Jesus - Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary
The Transfiguration of Jesus - James Tissot - 1886

Scripture Commentary

Matthew 17:1-9 recounts the Transfiguration of Jesus, a significant event in the Gospels where Jesus is transfigured before his disciples, revealing his divine glory. This passage holds profound theological significance in Christian tradition, shedding light on Jesus’ identity, mission, and the promise of future glory for believers.

The Transfiguration Event (Matthew 17:1-2)

The passage begins when Jesus takes Peter, James, and John, to a high mountain. As they pray, Jesus’ appearance undergoes a remarkable change: “His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light” (Matthew 17:2). This dazzling transformation reveals Jesus’ divine glory and indicates his unique relationship with God the Father.

Presence of Moses and Elijah (Matthew 17:3)

During the Transfiguration, Moses and Elijah appear and converse with Jesus. This encounter with two great figures from Jewish history symbolizes Jesus’ fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets. Moses represents the Law, given to Israel through him, while Elijah represents the prophets, whose words anticipated the coming of the Messiah. Their presence confirms Jesus’ continuity with the Old Testament and underscores his role as the fulfillment of Scripture.

Peter's Response (Matthew 17:4)

Overwhelmed by the experience, Peter suggests building shelters for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah. This response reflects Peter’s desire to prolong the divine encounter and his attempt to grasp the significance of the moment. However, Peter’s proposal is interrupted by a voice from heaven, affirming Jesus’ identity: “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” (Matthew 17:5). This divine declaration emphasizes the authority of Jesus and redirects the focus back to him as the central figure.

The Disciples' Reaction (Matthew 17:6-8)

Upon hearing the voice from heaven, the disciples are filled with awe and fear, falling facedown to the ground. Jesus reassures them, touching them and telling them not to be afraid. As they look up, they see only Jesus standing, indicating that he alone is the object of their worship and devotion. This moment solidifies the disciples’ understanding of Jesus’ divine identity and strengthens their faith in him as the Son of God.

Jesus' Instruction (Matthew 17:9)

Before descending the mountain, Jesus instructs his disciples not to tell anyone about the Transfiguration until after his resurrection from the dead. This directive reflects Jesus’ awareness of the timing of his revelation and the need for his disciples to comprehend fully the significance of his identity and mission. It also underscores the connection between the Transfiguration and Jesus’ ultimate victory over sin and death through his resurrection.

In conclusion, Matthew 17:1-9 presents the Transfiguration of Jesus as a profound event that reveals his divine glory, confirms his identity as the Son of God, and provides assurance of his ultimate victory over sin and death. This passage invites believers to contemplate the majesty and splendor of Christ’s divine nature and to find hope and assurance in the promise of future glory for all who believe in him.

Feast Day of the Transfiguration

The Feast of the Transfiguration is celebrated in the Christian liturgical calendar to commemorate the event when Jesus was transfigured on the mountaintop, as described in the Gospels. This event is particularly highlighted in the Gospels of Matthew (Matthew 17:1-8), Mark (Mark 9:2-8), and Luke (Luke 9:28-36).

The Transfiguration is considered a pivotal moment in Jesus’ ministry, where his divine glory was revealed to three of his disciples: Peter, James, and John. The feast is observed on August 6th in the Western Christian tradition, and on August 19th in the Eastern Orthodox tradition. It is a time for Christians to reflect on the significance of this event, emphasizing the divine nature of Jesus and the fulfillment of the law and the prophets in him.

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Last Publish:  January 29, 2024

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