Sunday Devotional: The Eyewitnesses of the Transfiguration

Mark 9:2-8

Jesus took Peter, James, and John
and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves.
And he was transfigured before them,
and his clothes became dazzling white,
such as no fuller on earth could bleach them.
Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses,
and they were conversing with Jesus.
Then Peter said to Jesus in reply,
“Rabbi, it is good that we are here!
Let us make three tents:
one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified.
Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them;
from the cloud came a voice,
“This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.”
Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone
but Jesus alone with them.

In law, there’s an important concept critical to the testimony and determination of truth.

The concept is “percipient witness”. According to Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary, a percipient witness is “A witness who testifies about things she or he actually perceived. For example, an eyewitness.”

Today, the universal Church celebrates and remembers a particular event about which the Apostles were percipient witnesses — the Transfiguration.

2 Peter 1:16-18

We did not follow cleverly devised myths
when we made known to you
the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,
but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty.
For he received honor and glory from God the Father
when that unique declaration came to him from the majestic glory,
“This is my Son, my beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”
We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven
while we were with him on the holy mountain.

Do you doubt these percipient witnesses?

This is how the Apostles — percipient witnesses of the transfigured and later resurrected Christ — died, testifying to the truth they’d witnessed until their last breath:

  • St. Stephen, the first martyr of Christianity, was stoned to death in Jerusalem, c. AD 34.
  • St. James, son of Zebedee and brother of St. John the Apostle, was the first Apostle to be martyred. King Herod had St. James beheaded in 44 AD.
  • St. James, son of Alpheus, was reported by the Jewish historian Josephus to have been stoned and then clubbed to death in 62 AD.
  • St. Jude Thaddaeus was crucified in Syria, c. 65 AD.
  • St. Simon the Zealot ministered in Persia and was sawn in half, c. 65 AD after refusing to sacrifice to the sun god.
  • St. Peter and St. Paul were both martyred in Rome about 66 AD, during the persecution under Emperor Nero. St. Paul was beheaded. St. Peter was crucified, upside down at his request, because he did not feel he was worthy to die in the same manner as his Lord.
  • St. Mark, a rope around his neck, was dragged to death in Alexandria, Egypt, in AD 68.
  • St. Thomas was pierced to death in India, 72 AD, where the ancient Marthoma Christians revere him as their founder.
  • St. Matthias, who was chosen to replace Judas, was burned to death in Syria, c. 80 AD.
  • St. Bartholomew (identified as Nathaniel in the Gospel of John) is believed to have been skinned alive and crucified. He ministered in India with St. Thomas, in Armenia, Ethiopia and Southern Arabia.
  • St. Philip was crucified in Hierapolis, Asia Minor, 80 AD, for converting the wife of a Roman proconsul. He also ministered in North Africa.
  • St. Andrew was crucified in Patras, Greece. He also preached in Asia Minor and modern-day Turkey. Christians in the former Soviet Union say he was the first to bring the Gospel to their land.
  • St. Matthew was beheaded in Ethiopia. He had also ministered in Persia.
  • St. John was the only Apostle who died a natural death from old age, after surviving an ordeal of being thrown into boiling oil. He was the leader of the church in Ephesus and is said to have taken care of Mary the mother of Jesus in his home. In mid-90s AD, he was exiled to the island of Patmos, where he wrote the last book of the New Testament–the Revelation.

Below is an account of the Apostles’ martyrdom by Dean Jones in the stunning one-man play St. John in Exile. Though filmed in 1986, I had never heard of or seen it and only recently discovered it.

I urge you to watch St John in Exile, which reduced me to weeping, in its entirety.

May the love and peace of Jesus Christ our Lord be with you,


16 responses to “Sunday Devotional: The Eyewitnesses of the Transfiguration

  1. Reblogged this on kommonsentsjane and commented:

    Reblogged on kommonsentsjane/blogkommonsents.

    Sunday Devotional.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. wonderful devotional Dr. Eowyn
    what more does mankind need to understand Jesus is Lord?
    I have the “St John in Exile” DVD and Dean Jones gave an awesome presentation…it’s one of my favorite videos. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. A profound and deep devotional Dr. Eowyn. Thank you.
    Another movie abut St John, not quite as old, but that I only saw recently, ” The Apocalypse” with Richard Harris.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s interesting how Richard Harris late in life, after a life of drunken debauchery, found God and redemption. His last role as Professor Dumbledore — full of humanity, goodness and wisdom — is so superior to Michael Gambon’s.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Y’all may laugh at me, but I’ve often been in wonder about this. These three Apostles witness Jesus take on his true appearance, and two prophets who had lived and died many centuries before (Moses about 1,500 years and Elijah about 850 years). Can you imagine the depth of their emotions about what they had witnessed? Awestruck would not even be close to defining it. I also wonder this: From the way the Scripture is written about this event, Peter, James, and John recognized Moses and Elijah. The verse doesn’t state or even imply that Jesus told them who they were. Nor does it state or imply that the three Apostles asked. How did they know it was Moses and Elijah? This keeps me in awe!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Dr Eowyn . . . . This is an exquisite offering. I doubt that I have ever seen Dean Jones in anything where he shows his talent so readily.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. The most interesting analysis I’ve heard of this event, is by Dr. Mike S. Heiser in his book Reversing Hermon. Recall this takes place @ Ba’als mountain (Hermon) and that located at the bottom (> – I can’t remember) is a cave that ancients (even 200 yr ag) believed was part of Pan’s grotto, and it was thought to be the gate of Hades. So first, Yeshua asks “who do men say I am?” as he stands by the rock on the ground near the entrance. When Peter gives his famous answer, Yeshua replies, “upon THIS rock I will build my ecclesia and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it.”. Of course the word rock had double meaning meaning Yeshua as the Rock, the truth Peter spoke as a rock, and of course the rock on the ground.
    Then they ascend up to the top, where the transfiguration takes place – AT THE TOP OF BA’AL’s mountain HQ! Of course Hermon is also the mt that the angels who fell came down upon where they plotted their Genesis 6 hybrid program (nephilim). Jesus was in effect asserting His power and Lordship over Ba”al’s signifying His death and resurrection would reverse Hermon’s evil and control.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: Sunday Devotional: The Eyewitnesses of the Transfiguration — Fellowship of the Minds | Gitardood's Weblog

  9. In a court of law, the fact that virtually all of the apostles willingly suffered execution, rather than denying their testimony of Jesus, would stand up as the most powerful possible evidence of their veracity.

    Liked by 3 people

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