We tend to think of glory as something achieved by extraordinary athletic victories, business achievements, or personal fame. In the Bible, however, it has to do with the radiant shining forth of the transcendent majesty of God. At crucial moments the splendor of Jesus’ deity burst through the cloak of His humanity.
The glory of Christ perhaps never became more evident than at His transfiguration. The Greek word for transfiguration is metamorphoomai, from which we get the word metamorphosis. It denotes a change in form as, for example, the transformation that occurs when a caterpillar becomes a butterfly. The prefix trans- means literally “across.” In the transfiguration a limit or barrier is crossed. We might call it a crossing of the line between the natural and the supernatural, between the human and the divine. It crosses a boundary of dimensions into the realm of God.
At the Transfiguration a brilliant light shone from Jesus. This light was the visible manifestation that the barrier had indeed been crossed. There are some similarities between this manifestation of glory and the shining face of Moses when he returned from Mount Sinai with the Ten Commandments. The differences, however, are significant. Moses’ face shone with reflected glory. Christ did not merely reflect the brightness of divine glory, but His glory is the brightness of divine glory. In this respect, His glory clearly transcends the reflected glory on the face of Moses.
Christ, then, did not reflect light but was the source of light. The Transfiguration was akin to what the Christian will experience in the New Jerusalem. In Revelation 21:23, John explains that the heavenly city will have no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it. God’s glory will illumine it. The Lamb will be its light. John writes, “They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light” (Revelation 22:4–5).
That the glory of Christ shone forth at the Transfiguration should not surprise us. The surprise is that He willingly veiled His glory for the sake of His children.
- The glory of Christ was revealed at His transfiguration.
- The transfiguration of Christ was a change in form, a crossing of the natural into the supernatural.
- Christ’s glory is not merely a reflection of God’s glory but the very glory of God Himself.