Dr. Dencio Acop
What was the transfiguration of Jesus all about? How does it impact you? Some say the transfiguration of Jesus on a high mountain (arguably Mount Tabor) is a highlight in divine revelation. This is because it points towards the connection between the old and the new testaments. The presence of Moses and Elijah, most significant among the early prophets, signified the old testament. While Jesus there testified to the truth of the new testament which is Himself. Had Peter, James, and John understood what was happening before their eyes, they would have witnessed the glory of the resurrection being revealed. But, of course, these apostles had not yet been touched by the Holy Spirit at that point and so they totally missed what was going on. In fact, the utterance of Peter about fixing up a tent for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah betrayed his ignorance but it also manifested the very limited understanding of man about his God and his salvation. It was well that such was so, as God had designed, as the passion, death, and resurrection of the Messiah was yet to come. But, already, the transfiguration was a clear premonition of the meeting between the witnessing of heaven and earth come together through the revelation of God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the coming of the Holy Spirit following the glory of the Son. The Trinity was not yet complete at that point and therefore there was no way that the significance of the occurrence could be revealed to the successors of Christ much more be understood by them. The three apostles’ being there already pointed towards Jesus’ design to build up His Church once He ascended back to the Father; thereby, allowing the Paraclete to descend upon the apostles that they may begin the work of spreading the gospels they were commissioned for beginning on Mount Tabor.
Given the great significance of the Transfiguration, it must become no surprise that it plays an important part towards our faith in the salvation story leading up to the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus. As it plays out the integrity between the old and new testaments pointing to Jesus as the Messiah sent by God to heal the world through the sacrifice of His own Son. The only sacrifice worthy of the Father’s mercy towards redeeming His lost children snatched away by the Evil One in the world. The Transfiguration once again reveals God’s hand in intervening to strengthen the faith of His Son in drinking the cup of suffering that He was about to. Reminiscent of how God always intervened through the history of the universe including humanity which was after all His creation. That He could intervene at any time He wanted to. With signs designed to allow man to get a glimpse of his own destiny from the Father. If anything, the Transfiguration empowers us to trust absolutely in the truth of the Trinity which is now fully revealed. It works to strengthen our faith. That it is true. Worthy of our trust and full confidence in the providence of God over us His children however broken we are. That, just as how the Father showed the Son the vision of His glory, that same vision is now revealed to us thereby strengthening our faith. This providential intervention ought to encourage us to keep the faith through all the difficult challenges we face in the world today whether they be the pandemic, drum-beatings of war (again), rampant crime, massive poverty, disasters, and faithlessness. In our seeming hopelessness as we continue to endure the isolation of lockdowns, increasing joblessness and hunger, worsening hatred of every form, death and destruction, and plain selfishness, may we draw from the power of the Transfiguration towards transforming our own weaknesses into strengths. From mere self-preservation to championing the common good. From just taking and receiving to self-giving love.