While he was saying this, a cloud appeared and overshadowed them. They became afraid as they entered the cloud. Then a voice came from the cloud, saying: “This is my Son, the Chosen One; listen to him!” After the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. They kept silent, and at that time told no one what they had seen (9:34-36 CSB).
The Father affirmed his Son’s work. The Father spoke of the dawning of a new age, the age of Messiah as the new and better covenant. The cross functions as a “new exodus”. A new day in redemptive history was about to dawn. The liberation from sin and its consequences was drawing near.
There were a number of things Moses and Elijah were not talking about. “For here, fresh from heaven, and shining with the glory of it, when permitted to talk with Him, they speak not of His miracles, nor of His teaching, nor of the honor which He put upon their Scriptures, nor upon the unreasonable opposition to Him and His patient endurance of it: They speak not of the glory which they were themselves enshrined in, and the glory which He was so soon to reach. Their subject is the exodus, the redeeming work, that he was about to do!” (D. Brown, pp. 261-262) Do we share their excitement and joy?
Christ’s redeeming work is the central truth of the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 2:2; Revelation 5:12). As Moses led God’s people of old out of bondage in Egypt, so one far better than Moses, the Lord Jesus Christ, has freed all his people from bondage to sin, Satan and death by his victory on the cross and from the empty grave. There is a better exodus!
The cross leads in turn to the consummation of God’s plan. Christ had spoken of his glory being revealed when he comes as Judge. The three disciples are given the privilege of seeing something of which he was speaking. See him flashing with the shining brilliance of glory! Wonder at this sight. Worship the Lord. My friends, we need by faith to enter into the glory of this revelation. Gaze upon the brilliant Son; listen to the Father’s majestic voice. Our God speaks to us continually through his word.
The Father affirmed his Son’s authority. The command to listen to Jesus was an indication of his authority as God’s Anointed One, as the Prophet (Deuteronomy 18:15; Acts 3:22-23). The second stanza of Isaac Watts’ great hymn, “Join All the Glorious Names”, joyfully says:
Great Prophet of my God
My tongue would bless Thy name
By Thee the joyful news
Of our salvation came;
The joyful news of sins forgiven,
Of hell subdued and peace with heaven.
Jesus is the final Word of God’s revelation (John 1; Hebrews 1). He is the sum and substance of the Holy Scriptures, and he completed them as his word took final written form through the New Testament apostles and prophets. Together with the Old Testament, we have one completed message from God. Listen to what the apostle Peter wrote after reflecting on the Transfiguration. We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts (2 Peter 1:19 NIV). The Great Prophet of God has made sure that his word is completely reliable through the almighty action of God the Holy Spirit. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you (John 16:13-14 NIV).
This is of immense practical importance, especially given the context. “Are we doing that? Is His word law to us? Do we like it when he speaks sharp as well as smooth things…?” (D. Brown, p. 262) Does his word win over everything in our lives that collides with it? Are we listening to the Lord Jesus? Have we confessed, “Lord Jesus, you are superior to all that have come before you or after you. You are the way, the truth and the life. You are the only way to God the Father. Lord Jesus, my only trust is in you, my only hope is you” (cf. 1 Timothy 1:1).
Grace and peace,