Glory and the transfiguration

Luke’s account of Jesus’ transfiguration includes a phrase not found in the other Synoptics: the doctor, referring to Jesus, calls attention to “his” glory on the mountain. Previously, when glory showed up in so dramatic a fashion, the pronouns associated with it referred to God; by aiming here at Jesus, Luke telegraphs in an elegant, subtle way that observers are to see in this event an indication of Jesus’ divinity.

The Nicene Creed was developed during the first ecumenical council, in AD 325.

The disciples with Jesus on the mountain may not have been quite as quick to grasp this, but upon subsequent reflection, they—like many others—realized that Jesus not only came from God but was Himself divine. As such, it was perfectly reasonable that glory be noticed in and around Him–a point other NT writers will make more than once.

But this one who was “true God from true God,” as the Nicene Creed puts it, also took on flesh and “was made man”—which suggests that when we come to an event like the transfiguration, we have something to learn not only about divinity but also about humanity.

I’m working through the implications of this as they relate to glory, and cannot shake the notion that glory is an ongoing, lively experience which is possible for people, and not just God. We affirm this, looking forward to that day when we will have ‘glorified’ bodies in heaven–but the transfiguration features Jesus prior to His resurrection, and surely that is significant. Might glory be possible for people both now and later?

The transfiguration is not the sole basis for raising this question, however, but of a piece with other Scripture which makes the case that glory in humanity has been part of God’s intent all along.

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