As Peter, John, and his brother James traveled up the mountain with Christ in the story of the Transfiguration, they are shown a rather shocking sight:
“His (Christ) face shone like the sun
and his clothes became white as light.”
So, not only was Christ “glowing”, but he was standing with 2 totally righteous dead dudes (Moses and Elijah). Add in a time traveling phone booth and you’ve got a biblical version of Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.
I Don’t Get It
There’s a lot about the Transfiguration that can make you scratch your head and say “hmmmm?” (Besides the glowing part) For example, take a look at some of the questions below and see if you know any of the answers:
- There’s a ton of important people from the Old Testament, why did He chose Moses and Elijah?
- Why the top of a mountain?
- Peter’s reaction to seeing this glorious and magnificent sight is what… to build them a tent. Really? A tent? Do you have rhyme or reason as to why he responded that way?
- On the way back down the mountain, Christ asks the three Apostles to not say anything about what they saw. Why?
- Why did he only bring three? Why not all 12?
Three Plus Me
As I’ve read and re-read this passage about the Transfiguration, I’m left with one nagging question that makes me reflect on my own life. What made Christ take Peter, John, and James? Why them? St. Thomas Aquinas called this “the greatest miracle” in that it complemented baptism and showed the perfection of life in Heaven. Part of me still wonders why He only took three out of the twelve to witness such a miracle, but a larger part of me wonders why He took those three.
- So how about it, why do you think Jesus chose Peter, John, and James to witness the “greatest miracle?”
For me, I think it represents Christ’s best friends, His inner circle. Peter makes sense; “upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.” So does John for that matter since he’s referred to as “the disciple whom Jesus loved” or “the beloved disciple” (even though that text was written by John himself). As for James, I read an article that actually argued the beloved disciple was James, not his brother John. Or was he invited to the mountain top simply because he was John’s brother, like an invite by association? I’m kidding. James is traditionally considered the first Apostle to be martyred and one of the first Apostles recruited by Christ, so he and his brother were there from the beginning.
There were 12 that followed Him, listened to Him, called Him Teacher, left all that they know to follow and live as a nomad with a complete stranger. They spent practically every moment together for several years. It would be safe to say they were His friends. Of the 12, I’m considering Peter, John, and James to be the His best friends. So, let me ask you this:
Who would you take to the mountain top?
Do you have 3 people whom you trust, that you would drop everything and follow without question and who would do the same for you? We can have a lot of acquaintances or even people we call friends, but do you have 3 people that you can trust the way Christ trusted Peter, John, and James?