6. THE TRANSFIGURATION OF CHRIST
Background: Look at the map. The mountain of our text
was apparently Mount Hermon which is 2760 m high.
Moses had encountered the Lord on Mount Sinai a
thousand years earlier when the Lord had given him ten
commandments. The Bible tells about this encounter like this:
Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the Lord descended
on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a
furnace, the whole mountain trembled violently, and the sound of
the trumpet grew louder and louder. Then Moses spoke and the
voice of God answered him (Exodus 19:18-19). John
wrote John’s gospel and Peter wrote two letters to
the New Testament. James in turn died a martyr’s
death as the first one of the disciples.
- Have you ever wished to see God face to face? If yes, in
- Why did Jesus choose only these three for this trip; why
didn’t he take all twelve with him?
- How did the three disciples probably feel when Jesus chose
especially them for this mountain trip? What expectations did
they have for the trip?
- How much time did it take to climb, and what inconveniences
may the party have encountered while climbing almost to the
height of three kilometres using the shoes and equipment of that
- Why did the Transfiguration of Jesus have to happen
specifically on a mountain?
Verse 3. The talk of clothing in the Bible begins in
connection with the banishment from paradise. Righteousness is
generally described as white clothes in the Bible and its lack as
- What would have happened if Jesus had been equally bright all
his life, from the manger to the cross?
- Why did Heavenly Father want to show the divine figure of his
son to the disciples this one time before the death of Jesus?
- What does it mean that especially Jesus’ clothes
- Which Saviour would be easier to deal with: the one who looks
like a human being and who has carpenter’s clothes or the
one who looks like God and who is wearing the white suit of
righteousness? Give reasons for your answer.
Verse 4. Luke tells what those three men were talking
about: “Jesus’ departure, which he was about to bring
to fulfilment in Jerusalem.
- Why was it important that also two representatives from the
Old Testament were witnessing Jesus’ transfiguration?
- Think about why God chose Moses and Elijah to witness the
transfiguration? Why not for example Abraham or David? (Discuss
this based on what you remember.)
- How did the disciples identify the two characters of the Old
- What may Moses and Elijah have discussed about the death of
Jesus on the cross?
- What made the disciples feel comfortable in that situation?
- If you have ever experienced such a wonderful spiritual
experience that you would not have wanted to return to everyday
life, tell others about it.
- What do you think of Peter’s plan in verse 5?
- Peter said he felt good. What is he however afraid of (6)?
- What do you thinkdoes it feel good or bad to be close to the
Verse 7. In the past, a pillar of cloud was above the
tabernacle of Moses as a sign of God’s presence and his
- What was the meaning of the cloud in the light of the
- Heavenly Father had already said in connection with the
baptism of Jesus: “You are my Son, whom I
love.” Why was it important that those words were
spoken again on the Mount of Transfiguration?
- Why didn’t God say “Obey my Son!” but
instead “Listen to him”?
- Compare the Mount of Transfiguration with Mount Sinai, where
also the voice of God was heard. What is common, what is
different between these situations? (Discuss based on what you
- What an important message does this verse have to us?
Verses 9-10. According to the Old Testament, the sinner
who sees the face of God, dies.
- Why didn’t the disciples die, even though they saw God
face to face?
- Why weren’t the disciples allowed to start telling
everyone right away about the things they saw on the Mount of
- What did this experience mean to the apostles when they
established churches and experienced persecution? (What made such
a big impression to Peter that he was recalling it in his letter
still 30 years later, when his death was approaching? Cf. 2 Pet.
- What does it mean to you that you will see his transfigured
face and also you are in a transfigured state when Jesus returns
on the earth (Rev. 22:4)?
Glad tidings: Jesus left the Mount of
Transfiguration to go towards another mountain, namely Calvary.
There he had to die naked so that he could give his dazzling
white linen of righteousness upon us sinners, as our baptismal