Summary: Glory! (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email:

Reading: Matthew chapter 17 verses 1-13.

(a). Introduction (Verse 1):

1After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James,

and led them up a high mountain by themselves.

(1). The Purpose:

• For both Jesus and the disciples these six days were a time of reflection:

• And this secluded mountain gave them time for contemplation.

(a). For the disciples.

• Each day of that past week the disciples must have pondered and discussed,

• What Jesus meant by His death and resurrection.

• No doubt they tried to figure out how this related;

• To the Old Testament promises about the kingdom of God.

• If Jesus were going to build a church,

• What would happen to the promised kingdom?

(b). For Jesus.

• It too was a time of contemplation,

• Luke in his version of this event tells us (chapter 9 verse 29);

• Jesus went up the mountain to pray.

• He was thinking & praying through he situation that was a head of him in Jerusalem.

(2). The mountain:

• The text does not name the place where this miracle took place:

• So we do not know (but that of course does not stop people guessing!).

(a). Tradition says Mount Tabor.

• But Mount Tabor is quite small (1,900 ft high),

• And it was also topped with a fortified city,

• Which would hardly give the peaceful setting Jesus required!

(b). Mount Hermon.

• Both Matthew and Mark tell us it was a “high mountain”.

• Most scholars believe it was Mount Hermon, which is 9,400 ft high.

• And it is only 14 miles away from Caesarea Philippi (continuity with chapter 16).

(C). Mount Jebel Jermak (or Jermuk).

• Which is in upper Galilee,

• The highest elevation in that entire region (rising 4,000 feet above the Mediterranean Sea)

Two reasons why it may have been this mountain:


• From this mountain it was a relatively short distance to Capernaum,

• Verse 24 tells us Jesus seems to have gone there soon afterwards.


• Mark chapter 9 verse 14 tells us:

• “A large crowd and the teachers of the law” surrounded Jesus.

• This mountain was not in the far north, populated mostly by Gentiles,

• But where Jewish people and their leaders were based.

(d). The honest answer is we do not know!

(3). The disciples.

• Peter, James & John regularly emerge as an inner group among the twelve,

• Once again if we are honest we do not know why these three were chosen!

We can only guess:

(a). Peter.

• In view of Peter’s great confession in chapter 16 verse 16,

• It is probably no surprise he was chosen to go.

(b). John.

• John had an affinity with Jesus, a real close bond.

• He is referred to as “The disciple whom Jesus loved”.

• Of course Jesus loved all the disciples but John enjoyed a special relationship.

(C). James (john’s brother).

• James was the first of the twelve disciples to be martyred for Christ,

• Perhaps this warranted this special privilege.

Quote: Dr. G. Campbell Morgan:

• Has pointed out that on three occasions Jesus took these disciples aside to go with him,

• All three occasions had to do with death:

• Jesus was teaching these three men that He was victor over death,

• (1). He raised Jairus’ daughter.

• (2). In the Garden of Gethsemane, he surrendered to death.

• (3). The Transfiguration, Jesus taught them that He would be glorified in death.

(b). The voice of prophecy (verse 2-6):

(1). illumination.

(a). Physical illumination:

• It was clearly not easy for these men to put their experience into words,

• And the gospel writers describe what happened to Jesus in slightly different ways.

• Matthew says (verse 2):

• “His face shone like the sun and his clothes became as white as light”.

• Mark says (chapter 9 verse 3):

• “His clothes became dazzling white”.

• Luke says (chapter 9 verse 29):

• “The appearance of his face changed and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning”.


• Remember the brightest artificial light they knew was a feeble candle or an oil lamp.

• They knew nothing of powerful spotlights or floodlights.

• The sight before them was breath-taking.

• It was both frightening and impressive and they were stunned by it.

(b). Spiritual illumination.

What the disciples saw was spiritual as well as physical:

• The veil of Jesus’ humanity was briefly drawn back,

• And they saw Jesus in a way they have not done before.

• This is the only time while he was on earth,

• That Jesus revealed His glory in this way:

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