I was reading Luke 9:29 and I became entranced by the following part of the verse:
“And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white.”
The appearance of his face was altered…other translations say He looked ‘different’.
I got stuck on that. I wondered. What did His face look like? How was it altered? How different was it? The disciples knew it was still Jesus, of course. He didn’t change into looking like someone else. But what was it like to see the glory emanate from His face and body?
I looked up the Greek, and the word used for different is from the root heteros. Heteros is defined in Strong’s concordance,
“héteros – “another but distinct in kind” stands in contrast to /állos,”another of the same kind”. Héteros “another of a different quality”) emphasizes it is qualitatively different from its counterpart.”
John MacArthur describes it this way in his sermon A Glimpse of the King: as different as a butterfly is from a caterpillar.
“It was different, it was other than. In fact, Matthew explains it this way, He was transfigured, transfigured, and Matthew uses a Greek verb, metamorphoothe, a metamorphosis took place. You know what that means, don’t you? You think about metamorphosis, you think about what creature? A butterfly because there’s absolutely no way that you could assume, if you looked at what it was before it went into a cocoon, and what it was when it came out, you would not connect the two because the metamorphosis is so total, so dramatic. Jesus’ form, morphe, changed, His body changed. They had known Him only as a human being, His body had been a body like the body of any human being. When the shepherds came to the manger, they saw a baby that looked like any other baby. When Mary picked up her baby, that baby looked like any other baby she had seen. When Joseph looked into the face of that little boy running around the carpenter shop in Nazareth, He looked like any other little boy that Joseph had ever seen. He had the same human characteristics and features that any boy has.”
“And as He grew into a youth at the age of twelve, He’s in the temple having questions and answers with the doctors, what they saw even though He said He had to be about His Father’s business and was coming into the full awareness of His Sonship, they could see only a boy, only a twelve-year-old boy. And that was the way it was when the disciples saw Him. When they heard Him teach, He spoke as a man. When they saw Him eat, they saw Him eat as a man. When they saw Him sleep, He slept as a man sleeps. He walked and talked and behaved as a man. His morphe, His form, His body was human, it was 100 percent human, it was what they were used to seeing. … “
“But all of a sudden a metamorphosis takes place and Matthew says, “His face shone like the sun.” All of a sudden His face was as blazing as a noonday sun. Now that’s a change. And then it says, if you look down in verse 29, “His clothing became white and gleaming.” Became leukos, that’s dazzling and brilliant, and exastrapton, to flash like lightning. This is coming from the inside.”
“What is this telling us? This is God. This is the Shekinah of God. When God manifested Himself in the Old Testament, He manifested Himself as light, didn’t He? As light. God is light and in Him is no darkness at all, John writes. And light is synonymous with eternal life. God has manifested His Spirit life in light. Jesus had said, “I am the light of the world,” but it never had been seen before.”
All my pictures of clouds and sunbeams and celestial lights cannot do even the imagination justice as to what the full glory of Jesus looks like, never mind the reality. All I can say is, when you want to be comforted by the soon to be fulfilled truth of His coming, just think on that scene. Peter, John, and James were given a glimpse of the King. His face was changed.
The Light that has come into the world is still here, in the form of the Holy Spirit indwelling each of us. But even that comfort is not the same as pondering the magnificent reality of His Light, fully shining, ablaze with glory.
I can’t wait to see Him with glory Light unleashed!!!