As we have seen, Mark is somewhat abbreviated when the Evangelists of the other Gospels give more detail. What follows is an account of all the details given from the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) on the record of the Transfiguration. (John does not record the Transfiguration.) Except for a few words here and there, the words below are quotations from each account. What is apparent is that some authors add certain details that others do not.
After about eight days (Luke 9:28), six to be precise (Matt 17:1; Mark 9:2), Jesus took Peter and James and John and led them up a high mountain by themselves (Matt 17:1; Mark 9:2) to pray (Luke 9:28). While Jesus was praying (Luke 9:29), He was transfigured before them (Matt 17:2; Mark 9:2), altering the appearance of his face (Luke 9:29) so that it shone like the sun (Matt 17:2). His clothes, too, became white as light (Matt 17:1), radiant and intensely white as no one on earth could bleach them (Mark 9:3), and dazzlingly so (Luke 9:29). Then Moses and Elijah appeared (Matt 17:3) in glory (Luke 9:30), Elijah being with Moses (Mark 9:4), and were talking with Jesus (Matt 17;3; Mark 9:4) about his departure which he was to accomplish at Jerusalem (Luke 9:31). Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep, but, when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him (Luke 9:33).
As Moses and Elijah were parting from Jesus (Luke 9:33), Peter addressed Jesus with reverence as Lord (Matt 17:4), Rabbi (Mark 9:5), or Master (Luke 9:33), and said, “It is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah” (Matt 17:4; Mark 9:5; Luke 9:33). He did not know what he said (Mark 9:6; Luke 9:33) because he and the other two disciples were terrified (Mark 9:6). As Peter was saying these things (Luke 9:34), a bright (Matt 17:5) cloud overshadowed them (Matt 17:5; Mark 9:7; Luke 9:34), and they were afraid as they entered the cloud (Luke 9:34). A voice came out of the cloud and said (Matt 17:5; Mark 9:7; Luke 9:35), “This is my Son, my Chosen One” (Luke 9:35), “my beloved Son” (Matt 17:5; Mark 9:7), “with whom I am well pleased” (Matt 17:5), “listen to him!” (Matt 17:5; Mark 9:7; Luke 9:35). When the voice had spoken (Luke 9:36) and when the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were terrified, but Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and have no fear” (Matt 17:6–7). And suddenly (Mark 9:8), when they lifted up their eyes (Matt 17:8), they no longer saw no anyone with them but Jesus alone (Matt 17:8; Mark 9:8; Luke 9:36).
Pastor David Huffstutler
Pastor Huffstutler regularly writes articles for our Sunday bulletin. See his bio on our pastoral bio page.