Could Jesus have transformed into His immortal form as He was without sin? When He was resurrected and talking to His disciples on the Emmaus Road, they didn’t recognize Him. Neither did Mary in the garden after His resurrection. She initially thought He was the gardener. I am sure He did radiate a divine light when it was over as Moses did when he returned from the mountain after 40 days with the Lord.
This event happened after Peter shared the revelation that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the Living God. So why Moses and Elijah of all the historic figures in Israel’s past? Why not David and Elisha or Daniel?
These two men were very significant in establishing the kingdom of Israel. Moses led the people out of captivity in Egypt. He gave them the Law of God that established the moral and ethical basis of their society. He gave them the guidelines to have a just and equitable society that rightly represented the kingdom of God.
Elijah was the prophet who confronted Ahab, the son of Omri. I Kings 16:30 tells us that Ahab did more evil in the eyes of the Lord than any kings before him. Not only did he commit the sins of Jeroboam he also through his marriage to Jezebel began to serve Baal and worship him. He led the nation into more and more idolatry. Elijah brought spiritual and governmental restoration back to Israel. He destroyed the prophets of Baal and proved to the people that there was only one God of Israel. To this day the Jewish people set a cup for Elijah at their Seder meals. They expect him to return proclaiming the coming of the Messiah.
The two of them represent the Law and the Spirit. Jesus said in John 4 that God was seeking believers who would worship Him in spirit and in truth. The kingdom of God as established through Jesus is to reflect both the Spirit and truth.
The transfiguration gives us a glimpse into the possibilities of the kingdom here on earth. It also affirmed Jesus and gave Him strength to go forward. From this point on He talked to His disciples about His impending suffering, death and resurrection from the dead. They didn’t understand what He was telling them as they were expecting a kingdom like all the others here on earth. They needed to see the difference even if they didn’t understand. Later they could say, ‘this is that’.