When Jesus led Peter, James and John, his three closest disciples, up a high mountain, they must have realised that something important was going to happen. But they could not have expected what followed. Jesus was transfigured – the disciples were given a glimpse of his heavenly glory. With him were Moses and Elijah, the two greatest figures of the Old Testament. They heard the voice of God the Father, speaking to them from within a cloud. For the disciples, it was a stunning vision that revealed to them who Jesus really was – the Son of God. No wonder they were frightened, overwhelmed, and unable to take it all in. And then the vision was over, as suddenly as it had begun.
Why did Jesus reveal himself to Peter, James and John in this way? Perhaps to strengthen their courage for what lay ahead. When they came down from the mountain, Jesus would begin his journey to Jerusalem; the journey that would lead him to the Cross. He knew that his disciples’ faith in him would be tested; perhaps he foresaw that they would run away in fear and abandon him. Only when Jesus rose from the dead would the disciples begin to understand what they had seen. As we make our own journey through Lent, today’s Gospel challenges us to renew our courage and our trust in Jesus. The words of God the Father are addressed to us: ‘This is my Son, the Beloved. Listen to him.’