Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Mount of Transfiguration

Also Mark 9 1-13, Luke 9 27-36, 2 Peter 1 16-18

Matthew 16 28 Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom."

[After Peter's confession, Jesus foretold his own death and resurrection then told them that some of them would see Jesus in his Kingdom before they die.]

Matthew 17

 1 Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves;

[Peter, James and John are consistently seen as Jesus' inner circle, those he confides in the most. Here again he takes the 3 aside, leaving the other apostles. In Galatians chapter 2 these 3 are referred to by Paul as the "pillars" the support structure of the early Church.]

2 and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.

[Jesus was transformed, the Greek word is metamorphoo, he changed before their eyes to assume his glorified form. This was Jesus as he will be in his kingdom, his face shining like the sun, and his clothes glowing white. Mark 9 says of his clothing "such that no launderer and earth can whiten them". In Matthew 13 Jesus said the righteous in heaven will shine like the sun. This was the vision of the glorified Lord. Luke 9 says this transformation occurred while Jesus was praying.]

3 And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him.

[How appropriate to have Moses and Elijah there to represent the Law and the Prophets which testify of Jesus. Revelation 11 also tells us that in the last days two witnesses emerge to prophecy against the world, and the signs they will do are similar to those of Moses and Elijah in the Old Testament. For that reason many believe those two witnesses will be the resurrected Moses and Elijah.]

4 Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah."

[What is the proper response to the glorified Lord, Worship? Peter offers to erect 3 tabernacles or shelters such as are used during the feast of tabernacles. But what Peter is describing would be too close to idolatry. Moses and Elijah were still men. We don't have shrines to the prophets, where we burn candles or incense. We are to worship God only. Luke 9 says Peter did not realize what he was saying ]

5 While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!"

[Putting a stop to Peter impetuous response, the voice of the Father from the cloud directs them to listen to Jesus. God's presence is often accompanied by clouds as a symbol of his glory, I think also as a covering protecting men in their earthly bodies from experiencing the full glory of God, much like the veils of the temple. Notice also the Father's words match those spoken at Jesus' baptism. There is an important message for us here. Always let your worship be directed by the Word of God.

The modern form of idolatry is letting anything other than God be the most important thing in your life. Some people follow God because they think he will bless them with money, they worship money, not God. Some people come to church because they think it is good for their marriage or their family, they worship marriage and family. Now God may do all those things for us, but our focus, and our motivation should be The Kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33).]

6 And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid. 7 But Jesus came and touched them and said, "Arise, and do not be afraid." 8 When they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.

[The voice of the Father from the cloud, not only puts an end to Peter's foolishness, but it struck them with fear. They fell on their faces, which is similar to others responses to the presence of God. Jesus calmed their fears, and restored their courage so that they lifted their heads. When they did the vision was gone and they saw only Jesus.]

9 Now as they came down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, "Tell the vision to no one until the Son of Man is risen from the dead."

[Again we see that Jesus does not want his glory be widespread knowledge, until after his death, and resurrection. So Peter James and John share this vision of the glorified Lord. Very soon they would see Jesus suffer. They would see him beaten, mocked, and shamed in every way imaginable, then they would watch him die. And after his ascension, they would endure hardships and suffer for the Gospel of Christ. But they would never forget his glory. Some 30 years later Peter wrote about the day. ]

2 Peter 1

16 For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. 17
For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." 18 And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.
19 And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts;

[Peter says we saw his majesty, that day he received honor and glory, and we were there. Moreover the day will come when you will see it to. So let that vision seen by three encourage you, motivate you, let it bring you joy. You see when we look at the cross, we remember his suffering and shame, and it reminds us what we were saved from. But when we read about this vision, how heaven was opened and Jesus received glory and honor, it reminds us what we were saved to.

Seeing the glorified Lord reveals just how dramatic a change salvation really is, how we were adopted into the very family of the Holy living God.

1 John 3: 2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.

Christ's glory teaches us what our destiny is like, how that we will one day be like him. Your future state was forever changed when God showed you grace, and you received his salvation, by faith. And since our future was changed by God, we should live changed lives in the present also.

Ephesians 2: 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Matthew 5:
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

Psalm 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God;  And the firmament shows His handiwork.. Romans 1:20 For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.


Saved from sin, saved to glory. If all creation works to declare the glory of God, how much more should we, who are heirs to the promise of eternal life.

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