The Metamorphosis of Jesus Christ

The “Metamorphosis” of Christ
by Fra Angelico

When I was a Protestant college student traveling in Greece, I came across an Orthodox Church entitled “Metamorphosis of Christ.”
I thought, “What a strange name for a church! The metamorphosis? What?”
Later, I realized that metamorphosis is the Greek word that the New Testament uses to describe the “transfiguration” of Christ on Mount Tabor.
Here’s the Greek:
καὶ μετεμορφώθη ἔμπροσθεν αὐτῶν, καὶ ἔλαμψεν τὸ πρόσωπον αὐτοῦ ὡς ὁ ἥλιος, τὰ δὲ ἱμάτια αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο λευκὰ ὡς τὸ φῶς.
“And he was transfigured {μετεμορφώθη} before them. And his face did shine as the sun: and his garments became white as snow.” (Matthew 17:2, D-R)
The prefix “meta” usually means “change” and “morphe” means form. So literally, Christ “transformed” before them. His divine glory became manifest. Why? From this point in His sacred ministry, Christ spoke of His impending passion and death. This sneak peek at His divine glory served as a sign to His three closest disciples: Peter, James, and John.
Often God does the same thing for us. Before the Father calls us to an act of suffering or service, He often gives us a moment or time of glory, miracles, or signs. This is meant to embolden us during the difficult times which may come later.

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