“…the appearance of His face became different, and His clothing became white and gleaming.
“…the appearance of His face became different, and His clothing became white and gleaming. And behold, two men were talking with Him; and they were Moses and Elijah…speaking of His departure…” Luke 9:29-31
There is an anxious longing in the heart of every true believer to be with Jesus yet, for this to happen, death must occur and no one I know is longing for that. Many have understandably said they want to see Jesus but hope to be raptured to heaven instead of arriving through the usual means. I heartily agree. Interestingly enough, there are three men who got a glimpse of heaven without dying and Luke wrote about them in his gospel which is our text for today. Peter, James and John got a “taste of heaven” and revealed to all of us some wonderful insights about our future residence.
The Mount of Transfiguration, as it is called, was a high mountain in Israel where Jesus took His inner circle of disciples to pray. It was during prayer that His face and clothing began to shine brightly with the light of God’s glory. In effect, Jesus appeared much as He will appear when we see Him in heaven. The book of Revelation describes Him in this way. The sight of Jesus in glorious appearance conversing with the two pillars of the Old Testament was literally a scene from heaven itself. How often believers have wondered what it will be like in heaven and here is a taste of it. Sweet fellowship with Jesus and the saints of old. Conversations with Noah and Daniel, Job and Paul to name a few. Time with your loved ones who trusted in Christ and with myriads of God’s people whom you have never known before. Just imagine! No wonder Peter wanted to erect three tabernacles (tents) for them to stay in on the mountain top! Who wouldn’t want to stay there and never leave?
There is so much to dig out from this event in Christ’s earthly ministry but there is one thing I had never seen before that is worthy of note. In Luke’s account only, we are told of the topic of Christ’s conversation with Moses and Elijah. They were “speaking of His departure” which was nearing its time. I would have thought these two would be talking about the cross or His resurrection, but they were talking of His ascension; His return to heaven. Though we are not told their motive I don’t think it presumptuous to ascribe to them a deep desire for Jesus to return to heaven where they were residing. Christ had been absent for a little over 30 years and these two saints were wanting Him to come back! Heaven isn’t what it should be without Christ’s presence!
The Bible speaks of heaven as a glorious place but mostly as the abode of Jesus, our Savior and Lord. Every time you commune with Him you get a taste of heaven. Hopefully you keep desiring more and more of it.
Bruce MacInnes is the senior pastor of Turner’s Chapel in Sanford.