The Tale of Two Testaments
Luke is the only Gospel attempting to tell us the substance of the Transfiguration conversation, saying that Moses and Elijah “were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish in Jerusalem.” The Greek word translated as “departure” is “exodus.” The conversation is about departure, exodus through the looming suffering, death, and resurrection. Just before he goes up on this mountain, Jesus has predicted his coming passion. The three “dwellings” recall the dwellings used at the Festival of Booths, an annual harvest festival that celebrates the Exodus. Moses and Elijah, these great figures of the faith of Israel, speak of Jesus’s forth- coming “exodus,” his forthcoming death and resurrection, which Jesus had spoken of before going up the mountain. The presence of Moses and Elijah confirm that this journey, this crucifixion destination, is the will of God.