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

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Reading: Matthew chapter 17 verses 1-13.


• A school music teacher asked her class the difference between listening and hearing.

• At first there was no response.

• Finally a hand went up and a youngster offered this wise definition:

• “Listening is wanting to hear.”

• As Christians we believe the Spirit of God is always speaking to us:

• (And he does not need to shout!)

• The key is that we must want to hear Him (Are we sensitive to the Spirit’s voice?)

• He speaks to us as we are willing to obey!

• In our passage this morning, God speaks;

• But it appears there is only one out of the four people who is actually listening!

(a). Introduction (Vs 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.”

The ‘six days’ previous is what we looked at in our last Word & Worship service:

• When Jesus asked his disciples a question;

• Matthew chapter 16 verses 15-16: “Who do you say that I am?”

• Simon Peter replied; “You are the Christ……”.

• From that time on Jesus then explained to his disciples that he must die!

• This is the first time he had declared this news to his disciples;

• And from now on his direction is set for Jerusalem and the cross.

Verse 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.”

(1). The Purpose (Luke 9:23):

• 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 the 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!)

• You have a choice of three;

• But no-one knows with any certainty.

(a). Tradition says Mount Tabor.

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

• Not quite the high mountain described in verse 1.

• Mount Tabor was also topped with a fortified city,

• Which would hardly give the peaceful setting Jesus required!

(b). Mount Hermon.

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

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

• More importantly it is only 14 miles away from Caesarea Philippi;

• Where Jesus and the disciples were staying six days earlier.

(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)


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

• Where Jesus and the disciples were staying six days earlier.


• 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.

• You have a choice of three to choose from;

• But no-one knows with any certainty.

(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,

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