The second of my ten part series of posts on the Transfiguration and Christian reading of Scripture has just been published over on Reformation21 (if you haven’t already read it, the first part is here).
Luke’s account of the Transfiguration is situated within a broader Exodus pattern in chapter 9. Signs and wonders are performed by Jesus and the Twelve, leading the Pharaoh-like Herod–who, like Joseph’s Pharaoh in Genesis 40:20-22, had just celebrated his birthday with an execution (Matthew 14:1-12)–to seek to see Jesus for himself. Jesus then goes out into the wilderness, where he is followed by a multitude (Luke 9:10-11—John 6:1 refers to Jesus crossing a sea to do so).
The feeding of the five thousand in the wilderness is a food miracle with similarities to God’s provision of manna for the children of Israel during the Exodus. While within the gospel of Luke the connection is established chiefly by literary framing and echoes, John’s gospel makes the connection more apparent within the bread from heaven discourse that follows the miracle. Jesus’ delegation of the ordering of the multitude to his disciples is reminiscent of Moses’ delegation of the rule of the multitude of the Israelites to the elders in Exodus 18. In Mark 6:40, the people are described as sitting down in ranks, in fifties and hundreds, as if in military array. The numbering of the males and the division of the 5,000 into groups of 50 might also recall the numbering of the people in the wilderness (Numbers 1 and 26) and the departure from Egypt and entrance into the Promised Land in companies of fifty (see the Hebrew of Exodus 13:18 and Joshua 1:14).
Read the whole piece here.