Summary: Message about the Transfiguration and the Father’s command to "Listen to Him!"
A Glimpse of His Glory
March 25, 2007
I think it’s possible that no one in here would be upset if God were to give them some sort of experience that would send shivers down their spine and change their lives forever.
Maybe He’d take you to some faraway place filled with clouds and angels and harps and stuff and He’d talk with you.
You’d come out of that with some profound insight that you’d want to share with the world and hope they’d listen and catch your excitement so they could have just a part of what you’ve experienced.
Would anybody here turn down something like that? Probably not. I wouldn’t, as long as it wasn’t up too high…
God allowed three of Jesus’ disciples to have that kind of experience, but what He told them wasn’t anything they hadn’t heard already.
But God felt like they needed to hear it again, for some reason.
Let’s take a look at this passage, and see what God says to them, because it has major implications for us as well.
Matthew 17:1-13 (page 694) –
1 After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. 3 Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.
(Note: Luke adds here that they were talking about Jesus’ departure, which He was about to bring to fulfillment in Jerusalem. His death and departure would bring about the salvation He came to purchase.)
4 Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters--one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah."
5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!"
6 When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. 7 But Jesus came and touched them. "Get up," he said. "Don’t be afraid." 8 When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.
9 As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, "Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead."
10 The disciples asked him, "Why then do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?"
11 Jesus replied, "To be sure, Elijah comes and will restore all things. 12 But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands." 13 Then the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist.
Before we get into today’s passage, I want to go back to look at the verse just prior to this one, 16:28 –
“I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom."
There are four general explanations of this verse:
* those who would witness the Resurrection and Ascension;
* the Holy Spirit’s coming at Pentecost; and
* all who would take part in the spread of the church after Pentecost, especially as they would witness the rapid multiplication of disciples and the mission to the Gentiles;
* Peter, James, and John, who would witness the Transfiguration a few days later.
(Life Application Concise New Testament Commentary, Expositor’s Bible Commentary
I personally prefer the third idea – the idea that Jesus caused His glory to be seen in the spread of the Church.
But the reason I bring this up is because of the fact that some associate Jesus’ words about not dying with the event of our passage for today.
And I’m not saying it’s not possible that this is the right interpretation – I simply think that given the weight of the commentators I’ve read, the transfiguration is probably not what Jesus is referring to here.
Now let’s turn our attention to today’s passage.
Here’s Jesus taking his three closest friends
Think waaaaaaaaay back to the story of the Exodus, when Moses led the Hebrews out of Egypt.
During that time, Moses went up to the mountain to obtain the Law of God. When he came back down, his face was so radiant that he had to cover it so people could even look at him.
Being in the presence of God had caused his face to actually shine with the glory of God.