Download PDF



The Bright Light

Matthew 17:1-13; The Desire of Ages, pp. 419-425


The Message

Worship is rejoicing in God’s presence.

Memory Verse

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4).

Have you ever seen a light so bright that you would notice it even in the daytime? Once, three of Jesus’ disciples saw a very bright light and Peter got really excited about it. Let’s find out why . . .


Once, Jesus said to Peter, James, and John, “Come, go with Me up the mountain.” And He led His three friends to the top of a nearby mountain.

The disciples may have wondered, Why just us three? But suddenly they were staring at Jesus. They forgot everything else as they saw Him change right before their eyes.

A dazzling light from heaven fell on Jesus. His face glowed as bright as sunlight bouncing off a piece of glass. His clothes looked like brand-new satin robes, fit for a king. The light was so bright that the three disciples could not move.

And then, they saw two men, also brightly lit, standing with Jesus. Maybe one was wearing a leather purse as Elijah had worn. Maybe the other carried a rod, as Moses did when leading the Israelites through the Red Sea.

“Elijah? Moses?” the disciples said in wonder. Then they knew without a doubt that indeed Elijah and Moses had come to encourage Jesus.

What a strange and wonderful thing was happening. It seemed too good to be true. Elijah and Moses had come to talk with Jesus! Peter felt that he would burst if he didn’t tell someone. What could he do to celebrate his joy for Jesus?

“Lord, it’s good to be here!” Peter’s voice was breathless with excitement. “Do You want us to build three shelters? One for You, one for Elijah, and one for Moses?”

Just then a bright cloud came over all of them. The cloud seemed as bright as a million diamonds dancing in vibrant colors.

And out of this dazzling beauty the voice of God spoke. “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” (Matthew 17:5). The voice, loud and deep, shook the mountain.

The three disciples fell to the ground. They may have thought, Sinners like us do not belong in the presence of God. And just like any human might, they shut their eyes tightly. What might happen in the presence of their holy God?

The next thing they knew, Jesus was touching them gently. “Get up,” He said. “There’s nothing to be afraid of.”

Peter, James, and John sat up and looked around. Moses and Elijah were gone. The light had faded. Jesus was telling them to walk with Him back down the mountain.

Maybe the disciples began to discuss what they had seen.”Don’t tell anyone what you have seen,” He said, “until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead” (verse 9).

As they walked back to meet the other disciples, they asked Jesus many questions. He explained to them some of the things they did not understand. As long as they lived, they would never forget the glory they saw that time. They would always remember the joy and awe they felt. They would never forget that they had been in God’s presence.