Jesus is God. We know this. This is Theology 101. The disciples, however, did not know that. Not at first. For them, Jesus was an anointed prophet of God doing things similar to what the prophets of old had done. Jesus was the not the first to multiply food, heal people, or do miracles; for other prophets in the Bible had been empowered by the Holy Spirit to do similar things.
But as the disciples got to know Jesus more, they started to realize he wasn’t a standard prophet. When Jesus finally asked his disciples who they thought he was, Peter shot back that he was the prophet of prophets—the kind of prophet God’s people had been waiting to come save them—that is, the Messiah.
Eight days later, Jesus took Peter, James and John up a mountain and showed them that he was also more than that. It was there that Jesus’ face shone like the sun and his clothes became a dazzling white. Throughout the Bible and other important Jewish literature of the time, heavenly beings were pictured as having shiny faces and white clothes. This transfiguration of Jesus was a revealing of his true identity.
Yes, he was a man. Yes, he was a prophet. Yes, he was the Messiah. But he was more than that, too. He was also a heavenly being. And not just any heavenly being—he was God himself. Jesus commanded them to be quiet about this truth for now, but later they would tell the world what they had seen. And no one would probably say it more boldly and clearly than John in his writings.
*This devotional was created out of the themes of Luke 9:28-36 found in today’s reading at CommonPrayer.net.