Published on March 8, 2014
Matthew 17:1-9 While He was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud cast a shadow over them, then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to Him.” Catholic Lectionary. 2009. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
Transfiguration 1 After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 And he was transfigured before them; His face shone like the sun and His clothes became white as light. 3 And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, conversing with Him. 4 Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” Catholic Lectionary. 2009. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
5 While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud cast a shadow over them, then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to Him.” 6 When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate and were very much afraid. 7 But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and do not be afraid.” 8 And when the disciples raised their eyes, they saw no one else but Jesus alone. 9 As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, “Do not tell the vision to anyone until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.” Catholic Lectionary. 2009. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
THE CONNECTIONS Matthew often represents Jesus as the new Moses. Both led their people to freedom and salvation. Moses also took three companions up a mountain and on the seventh day it was overshadowed by a shining cloud of God’s presence (Ex 24:1; 15). Jesus, too, took three with Him up the mountain and the mountain was also overshadowed by a cloud (Mt. 17:1). Moses spoke to God and his face became radiant (Ex. 34:29-35). Jesus also was transfigured before the three apostles “and His face shone like the sun (Mt. 17:2).” We hear Moses tell of the coming prophet, the Messiah, and he tells the people to “listen to Him,” (Dt. 18:15) At Jesus’ Transfiguration we hear God the Father say, “listen to Him (Mt. 17:5).”
Where is Mt. Tabor? Mt. Tabor is thought to be the site of the Transfiguration. As you can see it is a short distance from Nazareth. The mountain was a natural place of beauty. A mountain was often associated with closeness to God and the readiness to receive His word. God had appeared to both Moses (Ex. 24:12-18) and Elijah (1 Kings 19:8-18) on mountains.
The Basilica’s Present Day Exterior In the 1920s the Franciscans built the Church of the Transfiguration over ruins of a Byzantine chapel. In front of the church are the remains of the ancient church. At the foot of the mountain is the little village of Nain. There Jesus raised the son of the poor widow from the dead (Lk 7:11-15).
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