American astronaut Scott Kelly describes the first time he saw Earth from space, saying, “As the Sun came up I was absolutely blown away by how incredibly beautiful our planet Earth is. Absolutely breathtaking. Like someone took the most brilliant blue paint and painted a mural right in front of my eyes. I knew right then and there that I would never, ever see anything as beautiful as planet Earth again.”
The view from space allowed Kelly to see Earth with fresh eyes, helping him more fully appreciate its beauty. The Transfiguration was a stunning event that gave Peter, James, and John, a fresh look at Jesus. They were terrified! In fact, Peter was so scared that he had no idea what to say (v. 6). Instead, he offered insulting suggestions that reduced Jesus to a mere teacher, one in need of Peter’s help, or someone no greater than Moses and Elijah. But when the cloud enveloped them and the Father spoke of the identity of His Son, all became very clear. Only Jesus remained standing before them (v. 8).
Based on the Transfiguration, the disciples’ questions about the resurrection and Elijah just make sense. They hadn’t done so well understanding who Jesus was, even as they watched Him feed thousands and walk on water. So we can easily expect that they needed help to understand this important moment.
Jesus’ follow-up question and explanation about Elijah and the Son of Man might have seemed out of sync with what they just witnessed. Yet it was true: The all-glorious Son of God, the Lord of Moses and Elijah, would suffer for the salvation of His people and then rise again from the dead! When we finally see this Jesus face to face, we will not find anything more beautiful.
Pause to meditate on what it will mean to stand in the very presence of the glorified Jesus. Think of the most bleach-white garment in your possession. It will look pale in comparison to Him. Quiet yourself enough to imagine hearing the Father say to you, “This is my Son, whom I love!” (v.7). Are you prepared to stand in His holy presence forever?