What is the meaning of the Transfiguration in Luke 9? Video conversation

The Sunday lectionary gospel reading for the last Sunday before Lent in this Year C is Luke 9.28–36, this gospel’s account of the Transfiguration, with the option of continuing to read the episode that follows immediately on the descent from the mountain. There some important things to note in relation to this passage as we think about preaching on it.

All three Synoptic accounts place this immediately after Peter’s confession of Jesus at Caesarea Philippi, where Jesus then starts to talk about his betrayal and death. They seem to want us to hold these two truths together: that the Son of Man is one who is humble and obedient even to death; and yet he is also the one spoken of in Daniel 7 where he comes to the Ancient of Days and receives a kingdom that will never end. Both of these are true about Jesus, and both must be held together.

James and I have a conversation about the passage, based on the analysis in the article about this passage published previously. We explore:

  • the connections between glory and suffering;
  • Luke’s distinct description of the event, including why he omits the term translated ‘transfigured’ from his account of the transfiguration;
  • the additional information provided by Luke about Jesus’ conversation with Moses and Elijah;
  • why the two figures of Moses and Elijah are significant;
  • the shift in Luke to a focus on the disciples;
  • the connections Luke makes in this episode with Moses’ encounter with God;
  • the links between the ministry of Jesus and the lives of Moses and Elijah;
  • the location of this account within the whole project of Luke’s gospel;
  • the questions that then arise for us as disciples of Jesus today.

Do join in the conversation with your own observations in the comments below.

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