And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray.…
And what was that glory? What made His face shine? What was the light which enveloped His form? We know that it was the glory of God, a glory not from without but from within, a light shining from the essential beauty of the Godhead within, not flashed from without. The Transfiguration, then, was not a miracle, but a witness of the abiding presence of Christ's Divinity: His whole Being shone, and like Moses, when gazing day and night upon the image of God till it became, in a measure, stamped upon him, and the "skin of his face shone," what did He do? Moses, we are told, put a veil over his face to hide it from the people of Israel, and so it was with Christ: He veiled His glory. If He had been outwardly true to what He bore within Him He would have been seen always with His glory unveiled; it would have been about Him in the manger at Bethlehem — transfigured Babe! in His home at Nazareth — transfigured Boy! it would have shone about Him during His ministry in Galilee — transfigured Man! and, at the last, on Calvary's Cross — transfigured Sufferer! But under the very conditions of coming as man among men, the Godhead within was veiled, and the outcoming of those rays held back which would have made for ever beautiful the Sun of Righteousness. For a moment there is no restraint, for a moment He knows the beauty of repose as in His solitude He holds communion with His Father, and all the beauty from within shines forth, and He is transfigured. The beauty of Jesus Christ! not an outward beauty, such as appeals to the physical part of man. "When we see Him there is no beauty that we should desire Him." He does not stand out as an Apollo of the Greeks or as a Samson of the Bible stories. "As the apple-tree among the trees of the wood, so is my Beloved." As the apple-tree, you notice, not as the cedar; yet if there is no physical beauty, there is a beauty of His own in every feature, every action, every part, for the transfiguration beauty was the beauty of God. God had communicated His beauty to His Son, for "in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily" — the perfect beauty of an intellect which is permeated with light, of a heart which is filled with love, of a will lifted up wholly to the will of God, of conscience at perfect peace, of an imagination sanctified by the most perfect imagery. For the fact remains, which is so true of Him, and, in a great measure, of our fellow-creatures, that the spirit moulds the countenance. There is such a thing as a saint-like countenance, wherefore where there is the indwelling of the Divine there is a beauty of face and figure, movement, speech, and tone, which nothing else can give.
Parallel VersesKJV: And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray.