Among the times Jesus separated Peter, James and John from the other disciples, one stands out. It was the Mount of Transfiguration. Six days after an extensive teaching time, Jesus personally led these three men to a high mountain, going to great lengths to keep them separated from the others. I am quite sure that no one had any idea what Jesus was doing or where he was leading them, for this was not something Jesus did on a regular basis.
They make it to the high mountain and as soon as they got there, Jesus was transfigured before them. His face shined like the sun and His clothes became white as the light. Then, Moses and Elijah appeared to Peter, James and John as they talked to Jesus.
Now, I don't know about you, but if I were there, I think I would have fainted or had a heart attack. Can you imagine what it would be like to one instant be following Jesus up a mountain and the next instant he be transfigured before your very eyes so that His face shined like the sun and his very clothes "became white as the light"? Just how white is the light anyway? Before they had a chance to cover their eyes, Moses and Elijah are standing there talking to Jesus.
To say that Peter, James and John were stunned, puzzled and bewildered would be the understatement of all times. It is actually quite astonishing that at this time with Jesus glowing and Moses and Elijah talking to him Peter says what he says in Mark 9:5:
"Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, ‘Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; and let us make three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses and one for Elijah"
There is a reason why Peter said this, according to verse 6 it says:
"Because he did not know what to say, for they were greatly afraid."
Peter, James and John were no doubt scared out of their minds. What they were witnessing was paramount to being on some kind of hallucinatory drug. They had no idea if what was going on was real, a vision or some bad curry in the soup they had eaten. Peter, never one to be at a loss for words, blurts out whatever hit his mind which was to say it was a good thing they were there, so let's build some monuments and get out of here.
Before any tabernacles could be built, a cloud overshadowed them and a voice came out of the cloud saying; "This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!" Then suddenly it was all over. They looked around and saw no one except Jesus and each other. As they came down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them that they should tell no one anything about what they had just seen until after He was risen from the dead.
Let us review what took place. Jesus was transfigured before them, they saw Moses and Elijah talking to Jesus and a cloud overshadowed them and voice said "This is My beloved Son. Hear Him." Jesus then tells them not to share anything about what they just saw until after he was risen from the dead. So, what do these three men do? According to Mark 9:10 it says:
"So they kept this word to themselves questioning what the rising from the dead meant."
Oh my goodness. After all they saw and heard what do they talk to each other about? What Jesus meant by the "rising from the dead". In other words, the whole event they had just witnessed was so "out there" they just moved right on by to something else.
This record has always amused me for it certainly portrays human nature. Here these guys just had front row seats to the "event of a lifetime" and what do they want to talk about? What a phrase Jesus used meant. Come on now, you mean to tell me that there was nothing that took place on that mountain that would have aroused at least a few questions? Perhaps they were following Jesus command to tell no one, but I think they were just so freaked out they just wanted to forget the whole thing.
The questions that arise from this record are; WHAT was the whole transfiguration thing about and WHY did Jesus bring Peter, James and John along? I know of no one who honestly knows the answers to those two questions. I know many books have been written and sermons preached on this record, but I still don't think anyone understands its real meaning.
We know that in the Book of Revelation two witnesses appear who are Moses and Elijah. We know that Moses was the great prophet who received The Law and Elijah was the great prophet who confronted the prophets of Baal. But why did these two appear and talk to Jesus? What did they talk to Him about? Oh to have been a fly buzzing by at that time.
Obviously part of the reason Peter, James and John were there was to hear the voice from the cloud which overshadowed them. Remember when John baptized Jesus a voice came from heaven saying; "You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." The voice at the baptism came from heaven and was directed at Jesus. The voice on the mount of transfiguration came from the cloud and was directed at Peter, James and John.
What did the voice tell them? Very simply that Jesus was God's beloved Son therefore HEAR HIM! Somehow I believe those words lived in those three men's hearts the rest of their lives. Almighty God Himself told them to LISTEN to what Jesus was saying because He was God's Son. I believe that years later when persecution arose and believers fell away in droves, these men kept this Word bound to their hearts and never let go of it.
Peter remembered and in his 2nd epistle, he had this to say in chapter 1, verses 16-18
"For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.
For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory; "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain."
Whether we are ever allowed to "hear His voice" does in no way negate the authority of the Word of God. That was Peter's whole point per the following verses. It would do us all well to hold fast to the Word of God and to HEAR IT.