Mountains in scripture were seen as places where a person could come closer to God. Abraham was told to take Isaac to the mountain in Moriah. Moses met God on Mount Sinai and in today’s gospel Jesus brought his three disciples up a high mountain. The context of the story is important. Jesus has already begun to prepare his followers for what was going to happen to him. The reading from Genesis can be seen as a foreshadowing of the sacrifice of a Beloved Son.
The vision of Jesus talking to Moses and Elijah is the history of salvation in miniature. The two great figures from the Old Testament, representing the Law and the Prophets, come together with the promised Messiah. A cloud, used in the Old Testament as an image of God’s presence, covers the frightened disciples. The voice from Heaven recalls the proclamation at Jesus’ baptism: “This is my Son, the Beloved. Listen to him.” It is though the baptism prepared dim for His ministry and the transfiguration for dis death.
When Jesus was transfigured, his disciples saw much more in him than the human Jesus whom thy followed. Peter’s remark about making booths for the three, expressed the feeling of all that they wanted to remain in this time forever. Such apocalyptic moments do not last. Reality set in. They would come down the mountain. Yet the memory of the event lasted, for it is mentioned specifically in Peter’s second letter (2 Peter 1.:16-18).