The Transfiguration, Part 1: The End of the Law and Prophets | Mark 9:2–8
2 And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, 3 and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them. 4 And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. 5 And Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” 6 For he did not know what to say, for they were terrified. 7 And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.” 8 And suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them but Jesus only.
Jesus follows up His promise in v. 1 with the most spectacular demonstration. Jesus, Peter, John, and James ascend Mt. Hermon near Caesarea Philippi, and He is there transformed. The sight is so memorable that Peter writes about it at the end of his life (2 Pt 1:16–21), as does John, who constantly compares Jesus to light (Jn 1:4–9, etc.). It also tells us about Christ’s relationship to the Law and the Prophets.
His Transfiguration parallels the Law and the Prophets. We read of “six days” here and in Matthew; Luke has “about eight days” (Lk 9:28) or roughly a week’s time. This parallels the six days of the cloud covering Sinai before God called Moses up on the seventh to receive the Law (Ex 24:16–18). Jesus goes up this “high mountain,” calls disciples to Himself, the glory cloud appears, and the voice of God speaks to them. That both Moses and Elijah appear—who both encountered God on Sinai—further emphasizes this connection. It’s fitting, then, that the disciples were so filled with terror (Lk 9:34).
His Transfiguration demonstrates His fulfillment of them. Moses predicted that God “will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you… it is to him you shall listen” (Dt 18:15). The prophets predicted that God would make a New Covenant, when everything in the Old grows obsolete (Hb 8:8–13). That covenant unfolds as the Father speaks to them, saying, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him” (v. 7). With that, “they no longer saw anyone with them but Jesus only” (Mk 9:8).
“Christ [alone] is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes” (Rm 10:4). He doesn’t “end” the Law but fulfills it; it culminates in Him. God’s Word states that we all stand condemned as sinners and are worthy of damnation, but Jesus came and lived the life we couldn’t—a life of complete righteousness—completing the righteous requirements in our stead. Everyone who believes or trusts in Him can know He fulfills everything they need according to the Law and Prophets.