Understanding the Bible 24: The Transfiguration and Jesus’s Messianic Identity

“Who do you say that I am?”  This questions forms a turning point in the Gospel narratives and remains a central question for students of the Bible in every generation.  Precisely who is this Jesus of Nazareth?  

As we’ve discussed before,  those who encountered Jesus would have understood him as a prophet (one sent to announce God’s word to Israel).  It was the only category available to them.  But his message of the immediate presence of the kingdom of God – and his demonstrations of power that affirmed these claims – demanded a deeper consideration of his identity.  Was he a prophet in the sense of being one of many?  Was he among the greats – a prophet akin to Moses, Elijah…?  Or did Jesus belong to a category of his own?  And if so, what would that that imply for God’s project of salvation.

In this episode we examine the last of the five miracles we are studying:  the transfiguration.  It is an encounter that will change his follower’s understanding of Jesus and his mission, and from this moment, Jesus’s ministry will take a new turn – towards Jerusalem and the cross.

This is a sermon that was originally presented at Canvas (a Presbyterian church in Irvine, CA), 3 March 2014. To learn more about Canvas, click here!


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