Jesus took his 3 closest disciples (Peter, James, and John) with him to a high mountain. There is not a lot of detail in this story about what exactly happened, but we know that Jesus' appearance changed in two ways. One, his face was extremely bright (it shone like the sun). Two, his clothes became extremely bright. This is why this is called the "Transfiguration" - "trans" means "change" and "figure" refers to Jesus' body. His body was changed in front of them.
Then, two other men from the Old Testament were seen walking with him: Moses and Elijah. Peter's first reaction was that they should stay there for a long time, so he suggested that they build tents for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah to stay in. Peter's suggestion was interrupted by a bright cloud moving in and voice from heaven saying, "This is my Son, and I love him. I am very pleased with him. Listen to him!"
Can you imagine what Peter, James, and John were thinking and feeling during this episode? The story says that the 3 of them were terrified and fell on the ground. Jesus came and touched them and told them not to be afraid. When they looked up, only Jesus was there and Moses and Elijah were gone.
Jesus told them not to tell anyone about what happened until after he was raised from the dead (Jesus had just predicted his death and resurrection in the previous chapter, Matthew 16).
(This story can also be found in Mark 9:2-8 and Luke 9:28–36)
What is the brightest thing you've ever seen?
Today, we're going to learn about a time when Jesus became as bright as the sun, right in front of some of his disciples' eyes!
Read story from a Children's storybook Bible for younger children.
For older children, read the story from an age-appropriate Children's storybook Bible or read directly from the Bible.
Scripture for Kids to Read Aloud Matthew 17:1-9
First, ask the children if they have any questions about the story. What to do if you don't know the answer?