In the last chapter we read, Matthew 16, Peter gave his confession that Jesus is the Christ, the son of the Living God. And here, as chapter 17 begins, six days have gone by. And Jesus takes Peter, James and John up on a high mountain, away from everyone else.
I think He took these three for a reason. Peter was always the most outspoken, James would be the first of the apostles to be martyred, and Jame’s brother John was the one whom Jesus loved and would be with Mary at the foot of the cross. Also, according to Old Testament law, two or three witnesses were needed to confirm a testimony. Three witnesses are obviously better than two.
Knowing what would soon be happening to Him, Jesus wanted these three to see Him in his glory. He knew that they would need this memory to carry them through in the dark days ahead, and in their mission to proclaim the Good News. Not only did they see Jesus and His clothing shine, but they heard the voice of God say, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Not to mention seeing Moses and Elijah.
With this memory, they would be encouraged. We have the written Word. All they were to have were memories of what they saw and heard. What a powerful event to think back on!