The Miracle Story of the Transfiguration of the Lord

Religious Significance of the Transfiguration.

Catholics and the majority of other Christian churches celebrate the Feast of the Transfiguration every year on August 6. The Transfiguration is an event in Jesus’ life wherein he transformed into a divine or glorious figure characterized by the radiant light glowing throughout his body. This miraculous event is one of the five major milestones in the life of Jesus Christ; the other four include his baptism, crucifixion, resurrection and ascension.

The Transfiguration is the last major event in Jesus’ life before he was sentenced to death. In the New Testament accounts, it is said that after Jesus’ stay in Caesarea Philippi, he went to a mountain accompanied by his disciples Peter, James and John. Upon reaching the mountain, Jesus suddenly transfigured before his disciples. His clothes became the purest of white, his face glowed like the sun and his whole body glowed with light.

Earlier prophets like Elijah and Moses appeared beside Jesus and the two started conversing with him. Still surprised, Peter asked whether his disciples need to make tents for Jesus and the two prophets. But suddenly, clouds started forming and everyone heard a voice saying: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” This is said to be God himself addressing Jesus as his son. Right after his miracle, Jesus told his disciples not to tell anyone the things they have witnessed until his resurrection.

Though the mountain or setting of the event was not specified in the Bible, most Catholics believe that the Transfiguration happened at Mount Tabor in Israel. But as years go by, scholars who challenge the idea believe that it could either be Mount Panium, Djebel-Ejeik or perhaps Mount Nebo.

There are many significant symbolisms being associated with the Transfiguration. Perhaps the most important of which is its confirmation of the divinity of Jesus Christ. The bright rays of light emanates from inside his body that is filled with divinity. It also affirms that notion that being the son of God who lived on earth, Jesus served as the connection between Heaven/God and earth/humans. God is the God of living and not of the dead.

When God commanded the disciples to “listen to him” (Jesus), it also identified Christ as the messenger of God wherein his (Jesus’) words represented “His”. Many Catholics also believe that the miracle is a preview of how Jesus’ body shall be glorified after his crucifixion and resurrection. The presence of Moses and Elijah also has its symbolism. For theologian Origen Adamantius, the two figures represented the Law and the Prophets; a symbolism of how Jesus fulfills the Law and the Prophets.

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