The echo of Jesus’s baptism (Luke 3:22) in the divine voice from the cloud is to Luke unmistakable: “This is my beloved Son [literally, “this is the Son of me, having been chosen”]. Hear him” (9:35). The reference to Jesus having been “chosen” (ho eklelegmenos) is found only in Luke (cf. Isa. 42:1). Mark 9:7 and Matt. 17:5 appear to echo the divine pronouncement at Jesus’s baptism more precisely.
The point in each case is clear: the Father’s distinctive identification with the Son. What Luke adds uniquely, Gentile though he was, is a characteristically Jewish way of hearing it, tying the identity of Jesus even more closely to the messianic prophecies now being fulfilled. Jesus is God’s distinctive, ultimate, authoritative Word; he is also the Suffering Servant, the true Israel, the Chosen. As the transfiguration ends, the three see Jesus “alone,” and this time, they apparently need no warning to “keep it close,” not to disclose “in those days any of those things they had seen” (Luke 9:36).
They had been standing on very holy ground, and they now understood the identity of Jesus in a far more profound way than ever before. As Calvin says, also framing his remarks with an eye to the Epistle to the Hebrews, “And this is why the Apostle says in Hebrews [1:1] ‘God, who at sundry times and diverse manners spake in time past through the prophets, hath in these last days spoken by his Son’” (1972: 2.201).
©2012 by David Lyle Jeffrey. Published by Brazos Press. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.