Immediately after the announcement of his imminent suffering and death and his call to take up their cross and follow him, JesusJesus is the Messiah whose life, death, and resurrection are God's saving act for humanity More takes three of his disciples up to a high mountain where he is transfigured gloriously in front of them. A voice from heaven matches the voice at Jesus’ baptismJesus was baptized (literally, "dipped") in the Jordan River by John the Baptizer, at which time he was acclaimed from heaven as God's Son, the Beloved. Much later baptism became one of the sacraments of the Church, the action by which a person is incorporated... More declaring him God’s beloved Son, while Jesus’ words interpret the vision as an anticipation of his resurrection from the dead.
A number of key themes mark this episode, coming as it does right after Jesus’ foretelling of his coming suffering, death, and resurrection, and his call for his followers to deny themselves and take up their cross and follow him. Its location on a mountain, accompanied by Jesus’ transfigured appearance and the presence of MosesProphet who led Israel out of Egypt to the Promised Land and received the law at Sinai More and ElijahA miracle working Israelite prophet who opposed worship of Baal. More, mark this as an event of special revelation. In the voice from heaven it looks back and recalls Jesus’ baptism, reaffirming God’s delight in this beloved Son and confirming Jesus’ ministry and mission as the fulfillment of righteousness. Jesus instructs the disciples not to be afraid, and, as they descend the mountain, he invites them to look ahead in hope and interpret this vision in terms of the coming resurrection. Jesus does not say “if” but “when.” All is happening according to God’s purpose. As surely as the Elijah of promise has already come in the ministry and death of John the BaptistJohn the Baptizer was the forerunner of Jesus the Messiah, preaching a gospel of repentance and preparing the way of the Lord More, so surely the coming death of the Son of Man will be the occasion of the fulfillment of God’s promises.