The magnitude of the Transfiguration cannot be understated. Peter, James, and John find themselves in one of the most profound moments in the New Testament. Jesus is shining like the sun right before their eyes and they witness him speaking to Moses and Elijah. They then see a bright cloud surrounding them as the voice of God speaks, “This is my Beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”
Imagine bearing witness to something like this. Two of the most iconic figures in scripture whose legends have been passed down through generations are standing before you conversing with the Son of God, then the glory of the Lord becomes tangibly visible and you hear His impeccably clear voice. The disciples were completely immersed in the glory and presence of God.
As the group descends the mountain Jesus instructs Peter, James, and John to tell no one what has taken place until after he is raised from the dead. Glorification is awaiting Jesus after his resurrection. He then responds to them regarding the coming of Elijah that he has already come, but was unknown to man and suffered at their hands as Christ eventually would himself.
What the disciples witnessed atop the mountain wasn’t only the glorification awaiting Jesus after he fulfilled his purpose, but the glorification awaiting us as well. While observing the Transfiguration Peter, James and John experience glorification firsthand. They see Christ, Moses, and Elijah within the company of God and completely separated from the presence of sin.
What remains for Jesus before permanently returning to this state away from this earth is to carry his cross. At the end of Matthew 16, Jesus invites those who wish to go after him to carry their cross and follow him. In due time the disciples see the completion of this process; Christ being in full obedience to the Father, suffering unjustifiably at the hands of men, carrying his cross up the mountain and being completely glorified by God to be eternally restored in His presence.
How amazing it is that God seeks to glorify us like He did His own son. How can we not be in pursuit of the Son when this is what we have to look forward to? As we take up our cross to follow Christ as he commanded, we know full well what’s awaiting us at the top of the mountain.