Posted by: Standing Solus Christus | August 17, 2007

When Did John See the Glory of Jesus? (Lesson 3 Question 3 Answer)

3.  When did John see the glory of Jesus?  Who else refers to this incident?

When John indicates that “we saw His glory as the only begotten of the Father” he appears to be referring to a specific event.  John was included with the inner circle of disciples (Peter, James and John) who enjoyed a very close relationship with Jesus.  Peter also part of the inner circle refers to a similar event, we have in mind in the following:

For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain.  2 Peter 1:16-18

The event we are referring to is known to us as the Transfiguration of Jesus recorded in the three synoptic Gospels (Matt 17:1-8; Mark 9:2-8; Luke 9:28-36).  This event revealed to the disciples Jesus’ true nature and they beheld His glory described as a dazzling white like a light.  The appearance of Moses and Elijah may have been intended to demonstrate that Jesus was the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets.37 In light of our passage here in John this theory seems to gain some support with the forthcoming references to the Jesus being the realization of the Law and Prophets.  Another clue that John may have had this event in mind here is the fact that Peter offered to build “σκηνας” or tabernacles for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah.  Each of the texts indicate that Peter was speaking without thinking what he was saying, however he self-consciously may have wanted the event to be prolonged and the building of tabernacles would have allowed that.  John, writing His Gospel after several years, having time to reflect on this incident is concluding in our text that Christ did tabernacle with us for a prolonged period of time.  Moreover, the Father’s voice within the cloud that overshadowed them, reminiscent of Jesus’ baptism (Matt 3:17), affirms that Christ is the one and only Son of God.  The parallels between the Transfiguration and Moses’ receiving of the Law on Sinai – the changed appearance (Ex 34:29-35) and the cloud on the mountain (Ex 24:15-16) – point to an intentional identification of Jesus as a second Moses.38 Our text here in John seems to driving towards this point, as well. However, rather than equating Jesus with Moses both our text in John and the accounts of the Transfiguration unequivocally state that He is far superior. 

In fact, in both accounts Jesus is described as the μονογενους the one and only unique (or only-begotten) Son of God.In his commentary, John Calvin states, “for though all men might have beheld the glory of Christ, yet it was unknown to the greater part on account of their blindness.  It was only a few, whose eyes the Holy Spirit opened, that saw this manifestation of glory.” 39 As we continue our study of this Gospel we will see these comments being fulfilled.  The Word became flesh and tabernacled with His own nation, which did not receive Him.  His glory was revealed to some, but not to all since His first coming was primarily concerned with another goal.  This goal was the way of suffering, the way of the cross, which would come before the full disclosure of His glory to all.  A day is now set when the full disclosure of His glory will be made known to all and the blindness will be taken away.  It is this day that we await when we too will behold what Peter and John seen on the mountain of Transfiguration.

37 The Eerdmans Bible Dictionary edited by Allen C. Meyers (Grand Rapids, MI:  Eerdmans Publishing 1987), 1016

38 Ibid.

39 John Calvin (1550) Commentary on the Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ According to John (Calvin’s Commentaries, 17; Baker, 2005) 47



  1. […] of the type) of the tabernacle/temple when He assumed flesh and dwelled among men.  Although, the full disclosure of His glory was only seen by some, the fullness of God dwelled in human bodily form (Colossians 1:19) and His glory for the most part […]

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