Altar painting. Jalasjarvi, Finland
and he was transfigured before them:What am I really going on about with all this Transfiguration business? What is my main point?
and his face did shine as the sun,
and his garments became white as the light.
Matthew 17:2 RV
What do I see as the relevance for our lives today? In our lives as Christians?
The first point is that the event, the actual physical transformation is not of Jesus' doing. He does not transfigure himself: he is transfigured.
The second point is that he is transfigured before them, the three pillars of the church, Peter , James, and John. (Gal 2:9) The event is for their sake, as much as his own. In fact, I believe the main reason for the event is to show them his true identity; that of the Son of God.
How does Jesus' Transfiguration show that he was the Son of God?If it was to occur as the first thing "the three" had experienced of Jesus, they would more than likely thought he was supernatural, but not necessarily the Christ. By this point in the Gospel, they have witnessed many things, heard revelations, and seen prophesies fulfilled. It is once Peter answers Jesus with "You are the Christ" (Matthew 16:16), once the point has been proven so to speak, that Jesus starts to explain how he must suffer, be killed, and rise again (Matthew 16:20-21). This is the fate of the Messiah? Confusion must have reigned amongst the disciples. Maybe this is why Judas betrayed Jesus. Not an act of malice, but an act of disbelief?
By these three men seeing Jesus face shine like the sun, they could not have had any trace of doubt of his true divine nature. I am not suggesting that this is the only reason this occured. I believe there are implications for us today, regarding prayer, meditation and and our own spiritual natures revealed on the mountain. Jesus revealed himself as he really was, and was also showing the ultimate reality or destination of those who follow him:
We know that,
if he shall be manifested,
we shall be like him;
1 John 3:3 RV