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Matthew 17.1 - 13

posted 17 Dec 2013, 01:49 by Ben@theorderoftheblacksheep.com
Six days later, Jesus went up to the top of a high mountain with Peter, James, and John. There, something spectacular happened: Jesus’ face began to glow and gleam and shine like the morning sun. His clothes gleamed too—bright white, like sunlight mirroring off a snowfall. He was, in a word, transfigured. Suddenly there at the top of the mountain were Moses and Elijah, those icons of the faith, beloved of God. And they talked to Jesus.

Peter: Lord, how amazing that we are here to see these heroes of our faith, these men through whom God spoke. Should I quickly build some shelter, three small tabernacles, for You, for Moses, and for Elijah?

As Peter spoke, a bright cloud enveloped all of them.

Voice from the Cloud: This is My beloved Son. With Him I am well pleased. Listen to Him.

This is but an echo of the Voice that spoke at Jesus’ ritual cleansing in baptism. It is an echo of what God said through Moses during his final sermon on the mount. God promised that although Moses could not enter the promised land, He would send His people another prophet. Moses’ very last wish for his beloved people was that they would listen to this new prophet when He would come.

This voice from heaven terrified the three disciples, and they fell prostrate on the ground. But Jesus—who was, by this time, used to His disciples being plagued by fear—touched them.

Jesus: Get up. Don’t be afraid.

And when the disciples got up, they saw they were alone with their Lord.

The four men hiked back down the mountain, and Jesus told His disciples to stay silent.

Jesus: Don’t tell anyone what happened here, not until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.

Why does Jesus often instruct His disciples to keep secrets? In this case, perhaps He does because He realizes they will not understand the meaning of the transfiguration until they live through that other hilltop event, the death of Jesus on the cross. Believers, like the disciples, will better understand this bath of light and revelation when they, too, come to Golgotha and the cross.

Disciples: 10 Master, why do the scribes teach that the prophet Elijah must come first?

Jesus: 11 Scripture tells us clearly that indeed Elijah will come to restore all things. 12 But see this: Elijah has come already. No one recognized him for who he was, so he was arrested and killed. That is part of the preparation of which our Scripture speaks: for the Son of Man, too, will be arrested and killed at the hands of people who do not see Him for who He is.

13 And then the disciples realized the man they knew as John the Baptist[a] was the one Jesus was speaking of.