One of the most dramatic and important events in Jesus’ life was His transfiguration. Yet it receives not nearly the attention that other less significant events in His life receive. And that event is as important to the believer as it was to Jesus, because it foreshadows what should happen in each of our lives. Here is the account found in Mark 9:1-7 (NASB).
“He was saying to them, ‘Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who shall not taste death until they see the Kingdom of God after it has come with power.’”
“And six days later, Jesus took with Him Peter, James and John, and brought them up to a high mountain by themselves. And He was transfigured before them; and His garments became radiant and exceedingly white, as no launderer on earth can whiten them.”
“And Elijah appeared to them along with Moses; and they were talking with Jesus. . . .Then a cloud formed, overshadowing them, and a voice came out of the cloud, ‘This is My beloved Son. Listen to Him!’”
The word “transfigured” is translated from the Greek word “metamorphoo” (meta-mor-pho’-oh). It is the word from which we get our English word “metamorphosis,” and it is precisely what happened to Jesus. His body was completely glorified, which was what He meant when He told the disciples that some would live to see God’s Kingdom come in its power.
The Greek word “metamorphoo” appears only four times in the Bible: this passage and Matthew 16:28-17:5, which describes the same event; 2 Corinthians 3:18, which speaks of believers being changed or transformed into the image of Christ; and Romans 12:1-2, which tells us to be transformed by renewing (renovating, refurbishing or rehabilitating) our minds.
Peter, James and John saw in an instant the change take place in Jesus which God intends to gradually take place in the lives of His children. It is the same process which takes place inside a cocoon when a caterpillar turns into a butterfly. The difference is that the caterpillar has no choice in the process, where you and I have a will and a sin nature, so we can refuse to enter it, or to slow it or stop it completely.