When an important event takes place one thing you want to have is an eyewitness account. Someone telling you what someone else saw is good, but a first hand account is even better. This is exactly what we have in the Bible.
In Matthew 17 we have an event recorded in which only three people were witnesses. Jesus took Peter, James and John with him to the top of a high mountain and was transfigured before them. We are told “His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light.” The term transfigured comes from the Greek word “metamorphoo” which is defined as “to transform, changed, transfigure, transform.” In other words Jesus was unveiled before them and what He truly is was revealed to them. He lifted the covering off of His humanity and gave them a glimpse of Himself in His true glorious state. I guess you could say His inner man out-shined the outer covering.
Not only did Jesus shine like the sun Moses and Elijah appeared to them, and talked with Him. So Peter, James and John saw this with their own eyes and Peter suggested that they camp there. He said, “It is good for us to be here; if You wish, I will make three tabernacles here, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While staying there may sound good let’s look at what’s really going on here. Peter seems to be implying that Moses and Elijah are on equal ground with Jesus, as if they all three deserve the same honor. In a sense this seems logical because to Peter, a Jew, Moses and Elijah were like superhero’s. To the Jew they loomed large in their heritage and were, in fact, mighty men of faith deserving recognition but not on the same level with Jesus.
Just when Peter started drafting the plans for his temple building project, God himself intervened. A voice out of a bright cloud said, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!” Of course this terrified the men but Jesus comforted them saying, “Get up, and do not be afraid.” When they opened their eyes they saw no one except Jesus! This of course is God’s whole point. We must fix our eyes on Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.
As I thought about these things the importance of eye-witness testimony came to me. Jesus told them “Tell the vision to no one until the Son of Man has risen from the dead.” The good news is they did tell it when the time was right. In the New Testament we have the Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John but we also have the letters of 1,2 and 3 John and 1 and 2nd Peter and James. Isn’t it interesting that these are the three men who accompanied Jesus on the mountain that day? While there has been endless debate over what books should be included in the Bible I for one would prefer first-hand eyewitness accounts wouldn’t you?
John made sure to tell us he was an eye-witness. He looked at, touched and heard first-hand who Jesus is and what He said and did; so you can trust Him. In 1st John he wrote, “What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life–and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us–what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. These things we write so that our joy may be made complete.”
In Peter’s second letter he wrote, “We did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, “This is My beloved Son with whom I am well pleased”–and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.”
Someone might say, “What about the Apostle Paul?” Well, I’m glad you asked let’s look for a minute at Acts chapter nine. The Apostle Paul’s conversion story makes it clear that he saw and heard from a resurrected and glorified Jesus Christ too. We read, “As he was traveling, it happened that he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him; and he fell to the ground and heard a voice…” Sounds very similar to Peter, James and John’s experience on the mountain doesn’t it?
So you might say, “What does that have to do with me?” It has everything to do with you because God doesn’t give us the option to remain undecided when it comes to Jesus. Based on the eye-witness testimony, I for one have made my decision and am trusting that Jesus Christ is who these men say He is. I ask that you too look at the evidence and come to your own conclusion on the matter. I believe you will also come to see Jesus Christ is the One and Only Begotten Son of God who gave His life as a ransom for many. Put your faith in Him today; you will never regret it.