The Transfiguration of Jesus is a significant event in the New Testament. It’s a story that has captivated Christians for centuries, and yet there is some confusion surrounding the timeline of events.
Specifically, was the Transfiguration before or after the Resurrection? Let’s explore this question in more detail.
What is the Transfiguration?
The Transfiguration is an event in which Jesus’ appearance was transformed while he was praying on a mountain with his disciples Peter, James, and John. According to the Gospel accounts, “his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light” (Matthew 17:2). Moses and Elijah also appeared with Jesus and spoke with him about his upcoming death.
When did the Transfiguration happen?
The exact timing of the Transfiguration is not explicitly stated in the Bible. However, there are some clues that can help us narrow down the possibilities.
The Synoptic Gospels
The Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) all include accounts of the Transfiguration. In each case, it immediately follows Peter’s confession of Jesus as “the Christ” (Matthew 16:16; Mark 8:29; Luke 9:20).
The Gospel of John
The Gospel of John does not contain an account of the Transfiguration. However, it does mention a conversation between Jesus and some Greeks that takes place shortly before his arrest and crucifixion (John 12:20-36). This conversation serves as a turning point in John’s Gospel – after this point, Jesus speaks openly about his impending death.
Was the Transfiguration before or after the Resurrection?
Based on these clues, it seems likely that the Transfiguration happened before Jesus’ death and resurrection. Here’s why:
- The Transfiguration is often seen as a preview of Jesus’ glorified body, which he would receive after his resurrection. If the Transfiguration happened after the resurrection, it would be redundant – we wouldn’t need a preview of something we’ve already seen.
- The fact that Moses and Elijah appear with Jesus suggests that this event takes place before Jesus’ death. Moses and Elijah represent the Law and the Prophets, respectively – two pillars of Jewish tradition that would lose their significance after Jesus’ death and resurrection.
While we can’t say with complete certainty when the Transfiguration happened, it seems most likely that it took place before Jesus’ death and resurrection. Regardless of its timing, however, the Transfiguration serves as a powerful reminder of Jesus’ divine nature and his ultimate victory over sin and death.