Matthew 17:2-3, Moses and the Transfiguration of Jesus

There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.

//This is Jesus being “transfigured” on the mountain. But what do Moses and Elijah have to do with this story? Well, I don’t know about Elijah (except to say that many Jews expected both of them to return to earth to inaugurate the age of the Messiah, which they seem to be doing here) but Moses’ appearance may be a subtle hint, meant to make an analogy more obvious. The analogy is this: have you ever compared the story of Jesus’ transfiguration in the New Testament to that of Moses in the Old Testament? Note especially this verse:

And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him. –Exodus 34:30

Here, then, are some parallels to get you thinking:

1. Jesus’ face shines like the sun, just as Moses’ did.

2. Jesus’ disciples are terrified, just as the people were afraid of Moses.

3. Jesus took three people up the mountain with him (Peter, James, and John). Likewise, Moses took three people up the mountain with him (Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu).

4. Moses’ transformation was a result of coming into the glory of God. Jesus is transfigured by his own glory, transcending Moses.

5. A cloud envelopes the mountain where Jesus stands, just as it did Mount Sinai, where Moses stood.

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