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Transfiguration of Jesus-Part 1

Matthew 17:1 Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves;
17:2 and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.
17:3 And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him.
17:4 Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
17:5 While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!”
17:6 And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid.
17:7 But Jesus came and touched them and said, “Arise, and do not be afraid.”
17:8 When they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.
17:9 Now as they came down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, “Tell the vision to no one until the Son of Man is risen from the dead.”
17:10 And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?”
17:11 Jesus answered and said to them, “Indeed, Elijah is coming first and will restore all things.
17:12 But I say to you that Elijah has come already, and they did not know him but did to him whatever they wished. Likewise the Son of Man is also about to suffer at their hands.”
17:13 Then the disciples understood that He spoke to them of John the Baptist.
Matthew 17:1 Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves;
The Transfiguration probably took place in the latter part of the summer, AD. 30. The Passover season of AD 30 had seen public opinion in Galilee turn against Jesus.
Matthew 15:21 Then Jesus went out from there and departed to the region of Tyre and Sidon.
The Sanhedrin had also intensified its purpose to bring His ministry to a halt.
Matthew 16:1 Then the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and testing Him asked that He would show them a sign from heaven.
Mark 7:1 Then the Pharisees and some of the scribes came together to Him, having come from Jerusalem.
Mark 7:2 Now when they saw some of His disciples eat bread with defiled, that is, with unwashed hands, they found fault.
At Caesarea Philippi Jesus had, for the first time, spoken plainly to the disciples concerning His sufferings and death.
Matthew 16:21 From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.
But they, like all other Jews, thought of the Messiah as a conquering king. Therefor it was difficult, even for them, to grasp the idea of a Messiah who would suffer and die. Gloomy thoughts, as upon previous occasions, filled their minds, owing to their misunderstanding of the nature and purpose of the ministry of Jesus.
The period mentioned, “after six days,” refers to the time since Peter’s profession of faith in the divine Sonship of Jesus.
Matthew 16:16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Matthew 17:1 Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves;
These three had shown better understanding than their fellow disciples of the truths Christ sought to impart. At least upon one previous occasion they had been especially selected to witness divine power at work. This was during the raising to life of the daughter of Jairus.
Mark 5:37 And He permitted no one to follow Him except Peter, James, and John the brother of James.
Because of their deeper spiritual insight they were yet to witness His hour of agony in Gethsemane
Mark 14:33 And He took Peter, James, and John with Him, and He began to be troubled and deeply distressed.
It was especially to prepare them for that hour of fear and disappointment that Jesus now took them alone with Him into the hills.
Matthew 17:1 Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves;
The traditional site of the Transfiguration is Mount Tabor about 19 km. southwest of the Lake of Galilee and 9. km. east of Nazareth.
Luke adds that Jesus went there “to pray”.
Luke 9:28 Now it came to pass, about eight days after these sayings, that He took Peter, John, and James and went up on the mountain to pray.
This was one of those special occasions when Jesus anxiously sought communion with His heavenly Father (see on Mark 1:35) in order that He might know how to accomplish His mission (see on Mark 3:13).
In this instance the problem was how to help the disciples understand the true nature of His mission, and how to prepare them for His death. The entire night was spent on the mountainside.
Jesus and His companions had kept on climbing, apparently, until it became too dark to go farther. It would seem that Jesus had already spent a considerable portion of the night in prayer by the time of the Transfiguration, for, as the hours passed slowly by, the dew of night was “heavy” upon Him.
He prayed for personal strength to face the great test that lay ahead, and for His disciples, that their faith in Him as the Son of God might be strengthened, that they might understand the necessity of His death as part of the plan of salvation, and that they might be prepared for the hour of trial.
Accordingly, He prayed that they might behold His divine glory, which thus far, except for fleeting moments, had been hidden from their gaze.
Matthew 17:2 and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.
Gr. metamorphoō, “to change into another form,” or “to transform.” This was one of the occasions when divinity flashed forth through Jesus’ humanity, to meet the radiance of heaven. It was while Jesus was praying and the disciples were asleep that the mysterious transformation took place.
The description of the experience by the three synoptic writers precludes any suggestion that it was a subjective experience on the part of the disciples, or perhaps only of Peter.
It was more than a dream or hallucination due to weariness from the day’s journey and worry about Christ’s prediction of His death; it was a real experience.
Many years later Peter declared that he and his fellow disciples “were eyewitnesses” of the “majesty,” “honour,” and “glory” of Jesus, and testified to having heard the voice proclaiming Jesus’ Sonship to the Father.
2 Peter 1:16 For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.
1:17 For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
1:18 And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.
1:19 And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts;
Peter presents this outstanding experience as one of the great confirmations of the Christian faith.
John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
Matthew 17:2 and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.
The description of Christ here recorded closely resembles that given by Daniel.
Daniel 10:5 I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, a certain man clothed in linen, whose waist was girded with gold of Uphaz!
Daniel 10:6 His body was like beryl, his face like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like torches of fire, his arms and feet like burnished bronze in colour, and the sound of his words like the voice of a multitude.
John also saw the glory of Jesus in vision.
Revelation 1:12 Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands,
1:13 and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band.
1:14 His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire;
1:15 His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters.
When we are saved for His kingdom one of these days, we will also enjoy the privilege to look into the glorious face of our Redeemer.
We are going to see what happened to Jesus while He was still praying. Suddenly the entire surrounding was lightened. We are going to see what happened to the disciples when the saw what not even the prophets before them saw.

Updated on 21st Mar 2022

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