We are continuing on in the Gospels, where just prior to the following study's topic, Jesus explained that you need to deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Him if you want to be rewarded in God's Kingdom, which was to be established in less time than a human lifespan.
White Like Jesus
Matthew 17:1-9, Mark 9:2-10, and Luke 9:28-36 all describe an event when Jesus led Simon/Peter, John, and James up on a high mountain, where Jesus' was transfigured.
What exactly was Jesus' actual Transfiguration? That depends on which Gospel you consult. Mark 9:3 simply tells us that Jesus clothes became whiter than any bleach could make them. Matthew 17:2 claims that Jesus' face was bright like the sun, and His clothes were like light. Luke 9:29 says that Jesus' face "changed" and his clothes were as bright as lightning. So in these infallible accounts, we go from Jesus just wearing clothes which made sodium hypochlorate (a.k.a. bleach) jealous, to turning Jesus, and His clothing, into a one man light show of such intensity that it would be hard to look at without being blinded.
Next, each account tells us that Elijah and Moses appeared, and spoke with Jesus, and that Peter wanted to set up three tents there; one for each of them, because (according to Mark and Luke) he did not know what he was saying (Matthew 17:3-4, Mark 9:4-6, Luke 9:30-33).
It is amazing that the Disciples recognized the two men as Elijah and Moses. It is not like they would have been wearing name badges or bearing photo identification. There is not a detailed physical description of these long-dead men in the Bible. Plus, there was (possibly) all of that blinding light emanating from Jesus, making it as difficult to see anyone else as it is to see constellations at noon. So how could they be so sure who they were? It could have been possible that they had overheard Jesus speaking these men's names, which brings us to the next quirk:
Why is it that neither Matthew (Jesus' Disciple) nor Mark (allegedly the eyewitness Peter's companion) tell us what was discussed between these men and Jesus, but Luke, allegedly the physician of Paul (who was not one of Jesus' Disciples) manages to figure out that they had been talking about Jesus' upcoming "departure" in Jerusalem (Luke 9:31)? Not only that, but Luke adds the information that the Disciples had been asleep when the two men showed up, thereby missing the traditional meet-and-greet stage of a conversation when names are most often spoken (Luke 9:32).
Continuing on, as Peter had finished suggesting the tents, a glowing (according to Matthew) cloud enveloped all of them, followed by the voice of God claiming that Jesus was His beloved Son, and they should listen to Him. When the cloud disappeared, the two mystery men were gone as well (Matthew 17:5-8, Mark 9:7-8, Luke 9:34-36).
According to Luke 9:36, the Disciples voluntarily kept this transfiguration event secret. However, According to Matthew 17:9 and Mark 9:9, Jesus told them not to tell anyone about the Transfiguration until after He was raised from the dead, thereby continuing Jesus' effort to try to hide His alleged identity.
In another oddity, after Jesus tells them not to say anything, in Mark 9:10 we find:
[The Disciples] kept the matter to themselves, discussing what "rising from the dead" meant. NIVHow could they not know what "rising from the dead" meant? From 1 Kings 17:17-24, from verses describing one of the men they thought that they had just seen, Elijah raised a boy from the dead. Also, according to Mark 5:21-43, these exact same three Disciples observed Jesus bring a dead girl back to life. Furthermore, according to Mark 8:31, Jesus had earlier explained to them that "He must be killed and after three days rise again."
I suspect that Mark's gaff here is an artifact from the progressive construction of the Jesus' story. This Transfiguration anecdote was probably included in the story first, with Jesus raising the dead girl and Jesus speaking of His impending resurrection being later additions. Wisely, both Matthew and Luke edit out from their accounts the remark about the Disciples arguing over Jesus' resurrection.
Another oddity worth mentioning is that John, the one Disciple who allegedly wrote his own Gospel and who was an eyewitness to the Transfiguration, does not mention this at all. It seems that seeing Elijah and Moses, a neon Jesus, and a talking God-cloud did not leave a memorable enough impression on him to record it.
The final thing to note is the possible origin which spawned this Transfiguration story. For that, we turn back in the Bible to Exodus 34:29-35. There we see that any time Moses spoke to God, His face would glow so much that it scared his fellow Israelites, and he would have to wear a veil to keep them from being frightened. So Jesus' Transfiguration story served as more (I would say fabricated) evidence which proved that Jesus had a divine connection.