And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.
And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.
Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.
And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid. And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only.
And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.
And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.
And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying, Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water. And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him.
Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me. And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour.
Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.
And while they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto them, The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men:And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry.
And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute?
He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free.
Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.
In Chapter 17 we see clearly the transfigured, Christ Glorified. He is here on earth as He is in heaven. He displays his power over the enemy in healing of a demon possessed child, and tells of His mission of salvation.
So from the beginning of the chapter, continuing on from Chapter 16, it says 6 days had passed. As far as Matthew’s recording, nothing much happened in that time, and all was quiet. And than… BAM! We see the Lord of Glory just for an instant.
Imagine all the times when we’ve felt the silence and wondered what’s going to happen, what is God up to? Jesus, the suffering servant, the lowly teacher, the Nazarine (can anything good come from Nazareth?) I don’t doubt the disciples knew of Jesus’ power, or that He was from God, after all Peter and the others just admitted He is the Christ. But all of what they had seen, between miracles and listened to the teaching, it was probably still hard to grasp just Who Jesus is, even when they claimed it with their mouths.
I know I believe with all my heart, mind and soul that Jesus is God come in the flesh, overcame sin and death and has victory of everlasting life, that He died in my place, a punishment I deserved, so I could be reconciled back to God our Father in heaven and live in Christ’s Kingdom. And yet, sometimes. mostly when it’s the quiet times, I have a hard time grasping the enormity of it all. And I feel like that’s what was happening here. The disciples knew, but didn’t understand. Besides that, the coming time of His trial, crucifixion and death, they were going to need a reminder of something powerful that could help them during those days between death and Life.
He chose a secluded place with His closest disciples, away from crowds because the people were not ready for His glory yet, and because when we are closest to God’s glory, we are more separated from the world, and often times in seclusion.
Three witnesses to see His transfiguration, because Scripture tells us that reliability depends on two or more witnesses, and what they saw, not Jesus changing into a spirit form, but wrapped in light, in physical form, powerful and strong.
Remember when Moses saw God, and when he came down the mountain, he had to put a veil over his face because the people couldn’t bare to look at the already fading glory of God? This is similar, and yet there was nothing faded about Christ’s glory. His whole raiment had light emanating from Him. The Son of Righteousness, the Light of the World.
If I had have seen that, I think I’d been speechless, even though I always find something to say. So I can understand Peter’s excitement here, and yeah, even his boldness for saying anything when Elijah and Moses were there with Jesus. But we’ll get to his outspokenness in a minute.
Elijah and Moses. Why were they there too? It doesn’t say that they were in spirit form, ghosts or visions. They were standing there talking with Jesus. Remember, God Himself ‘buried’ Moses, and no one ever knew where. Elijah never died, but went to heaven- so, even though they lived long before the earthly mission of Jesus, they were witnesses of heaven while Peter, James and John were witnesses of earth. Moses and Elijah were revered by Jews as great prophets, so they also bore honorable testimony of Jesus being the Son of the Living God, as they had foretold.
So tell me, who wouldn’t be as excited as Peter, and just blurt things out? Thank You Lord, for letting us follow you all the way up here, when we had no idea why… It is good for us to be here…. and who wouldn’t want to just soak it all in for a while? “Let us make three shelters, one for each of you…” Have you ever had an encounter with the Lord you just didn’t want to end?
But it always does, but just for a little while. Life goes on, but we have that blessed assurance by those encounters that He is still with us, still doing His work and we’ll see Him again.
And yet, before it was over, they heard the voice of God in the cloud, reassuring that He is reconciling the world to Him through His Son. It’s not only enough to see, but to hear. Blessed are those who believe without seeing... And how could they believe without seeing, but to hear His message through the Gospel.
And the Gospel includes the way of death and resurrection which Jesus again makes mention of to His disciples when they go back down with an admonition not to tell of what they had seen. Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.
Even though they had witnessed Jesus’s Glory, the time of that telling was for after the suffering of Jesus. What the people would witness in the torture and death, any thought of a Glorified King would be completely forgotten by the object of horror hanging on the cross.
There is so much more to be ‘dug’ into in this chapter, but I think I’ll give way so others can supply some thoughts.
🙂 Have a Blessed day all!