After six days Jesus took with Him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.

Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”

While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased. Listen to Him!”

When the disciples heard this, they fell face down to the ground, terrified. But Jesus came and touched them. He said, “Get up. Don’t be afraid.” When they looked up they saw no one except Jesus. [Matthew 17:1-8]

Have you ever wondered how Christ might have looked before He came to earth and took on human form? The exhilarating event known as the transfiguration gives us a glimpse into Christ’s eternal glory – before and after His life on earth.

If I were ever given the choice of witnessing any event in the life of Jesus, I would choose the transfiguration. I can only imagine.

The word “transfigured” is a very interesting word. The Greek word is “metamorpho” and it means to transform, literally or figuratively to metamorphose, or to change. The word is a verb that means to change into another form. It also means to change the outside to match the inside. The prefix “meta” means to change and “morphe” means form.

Peter, James and John [three witnesses] were chosen to see this magnificent event. I have read several theologians’ ideas as to why Jesus chose these three disciples. For whatever reason, they were extremely blessed to be the ones.

Talk about a life-changing experience. Jesus in His Shekinah glory with Moses and Elijah. Then the brilliant cloud and the voice of God! Yep, I imagine I would have fallen face down, too.

Luke tells us about the subject of the conversation between Jesus, Moses and Elijah. “They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem.” [Luke 9:31] Peter, the ever-aggressive one, in his excitement wanted to build tabernacles for the three men. But his energy turned to weak knees when the cloud appeared and the voice of God boomed, “This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased. Listen to Him!” When Peter, James and John regained their composure, Moses and Elijah were gone. The glory of the life-changing event would stay with them from then on, and have a powerful impact on their devotion and witnessing for the Lord.

Peter would later write, “For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.’ We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.”

[2 Peter 1:16-18]

One glorious day, we will see Jesus coming in the clouds in His majesty and power. Then we will see Jesus as the three disciples saw Him – brilliantly radiating His glory. And never forget those who follow Christ will someday undergo our own transformation to live eternally with Jesus. Amen!

—Dr. Sam Smith is the organizer of Butterfly Ministries and can be reached at