Let’s continue this amazing story about Jesus and His heavenly and earthly audience
Luke 9:29 As He prayed, the appearance of His face was altered, and His robe became white and glistening.
Luke 9:29 As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. NIV
The appearance of the face of Jesus became different under the influence of this radiant white light. It was a luminous glory that appeared to come from within.
This was the glory that Jesus had in heaven before He assumed the form of humanity.
John 17:5 And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.
We are going to see His glory with which He will return to this earth.
Matthew 25:31 When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne.
Listen what Paul wrote about this glorious appearance of our glorious Lord:
1 Thessalonians 4:15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep.
4:16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
4:17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.
4:18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.
A similar glory radiated from the face of Moses as he descended from the Mount of the Law.
Exodus 34:29 Now it was so, when Moses came down from Mount Sinai (and the two tablets of the Testimony were in Moses’ hand when he came down from the mountain), that Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone while he talked with Him.
When Jesus returns and bestows the gift of immorality upon His faithful ones, no doubt they also will reflect this glory.
Daniel 12:3 Those who are wise shall shine Like the brightness of the firmament, And those who turn many to righteousness Like the stars forever and ever.
We are going to see this divine glory on the faces of all the saint in heaven.
For other moments in the life of Christ when His divinity flashed forth see on Luke 2:48.
Luke 2:48 So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.”
Mark 9:3 His clothes became shining, exceedingly white, like snow, such as no launderer on earth can whiten them.
Mark compares the “raiment” of Jesus to snow.
The “white raiment” of the saints (see Rev. 3:4, 5, 18; etc.) will reflect the glory of the garments of the righteousness of Jesus in the earth made new.
Revelation 3:4 You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy.
3:5 He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.
Matthew17:3 And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him.
Moses was the great deliverer, lawgiver, and founder of the Hebrew nation, and Elijah the one who saved it in a time of great apostasy and crisis.
Here were living representatives to bear witness to the divinity of Jesus, even as “Moses and all the prophets,” through their written records, had testified of Him (see on Luke 24:44).
It is important to note that regarding both Elijah (see on 2 Kings 2:11, 12) and Moses (see on Jude 9) the Scriptures record the fact that the one was translated to heaven without seeing death and the other raised from the dead.
These two, one raised from the dead and the other translated without seeing death, appeared with Jesus, as a type of the glorious kingdom in which the ransomed of all ages will be with Him in glory (see Matt. 25:31; Col. 3:4; 1 Thess. 4:16, 17).
Matthew17:3 And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him.
Luke adds that they were talking about “his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem” The Greek word is exodus, leaving life and entering death. (Luke 9:31; cf. Matt. 16:21).
Matthew 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.
Luke adds that Peter spoke without knowing what he was actually saying (see Luke 9:33). Mark says that Peter, as well as the others, was “sore afraid” (see Mark 9:6).
Three tabernacles. Literally, “three booths,” or “three tents.” Practically no rain fell during the latter part of the summer and the only protection needed would be that from the heavy dew of the night.
The expectation that Elijah would come to herald the Messianic kingdom may have reminded Peter of the predicted celebration of that feast in connection with the rulership of the Messiah (see Zech. 14:16–19). Perhaps he concluded that the appearance of Moses and Elijah at this time, so close to the Feast of Tabernacles, implied that they had come to participate in the celebration.
Matthew 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!”
Reminiscent of the pillar of cloud in the wilderness which was illuminated by the glory of God. Compare the experience of Moses in the mount with God when he “went into the midst of the cloud” that shrouded the glory of God.
This scene may have flashed into the minds of the disciples, as perhaps also the experience of Elijah upon Mt. Carmel.
A voice. The same voice heard at the time of Christ’s baptism (see ch. 3:17) and later, at the very close of His ministry (see John 12:28). Upon these three occasions the Father personally attested the divine Sonship of Jesus.
Matthew 3:17 And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
John 12:27 “Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour.
John 12:28 Father, glorify Your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, saying, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.”
Why does the Father say He is well pleased with Jesus. Because in His life on earth Jesus had carried out to perfection His assigned task and presented men with a perfect example of obedience to the Father’s will. If we place our trust in our Saviour, it will be our privilege also to “do those things that are pleasing in his sight”.
What was the physical effect of the divine glory on the discples?
Matthew 17:6 And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid.
Ezekiel and Daniel saw God’s glory in visions, Peter, James, and John saw with their natural eyesight.
Matthew 17:7 But Jesus came and touched them and said, “Arise, and do not be afraid.”
The fact that the touch of Jesus came after, rather than before, the experience is indirect testimony to the fact that this was not a vision, but rather an objective experience. Furthermore, there is no instance in the Bible where three men all received the same vision simultaneously.
Matthew 17:8 When they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.
What would be the next step?
Matthew 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.”
Jesus took Peter, James, and John with Him because they alone, of the Twelve, were prepared to receive what He had to impart to them. Had they reported what they had seen and heard, it would have excited only idle wonder and curiosity, and could have served no good purpose at that time.
The fact that they were to remain silent about it until after the resurrection implies that at that time the other disciples would be ready to understand, and that their faith would be strengthened by the account of the three who witnessed the event.
Furthermore, having with their own eyes beheld two men over whom death had no power, these three disciples should have been prepared to believe Christ’s words concerning His resurrection, and to impart faith and courage to their fellow disciples.
Also, the fact that Jesus took the same three of them alone with Him into the Garden of Gethsemane to join with Him in prayer should have brought this lesson vividly before them again.
Matthew 17:10 And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?”
As the official expositors of the Scriptures, the “scribes” would be the ones expected to decide theological problems such as the one here under discussion.
The apparent connection between the Transfiguration and the discussion about Elias’ coming seems to be merely that Elijah was one of the two who had appeared with Christ.
However, Malachi had predicted the coming of Elias as a forerunner of the Messiah, and the disciples thought that Elijah had now come to announce the Messiah, to protect Jesus, and to confirm His authority as King Messiah.
But if Jesus was indeed the Messiah of prophecy, as the disciples fondly hoped, and believed Him to be why, then, had Elijah not appeared before this?
They still misunderstood the mission of John the Baptist in spite of the fact that Jesus had already told them plainly that the life and work of John the Baptist fulfilled the prophecy of the coming of Elijah.
Matthew 17:11 Jesus answered and said to them, “Indeed, Elijah is coming first and will restore all things.
In the dramatic experience on Mt. Carmel, Elijah had been successful in turning the hearts of many in Israel back to the God of their fathers, and thus in checking the fearful inroads of apostasy.
In the same way John the Baptist proclaimed the baptism of repentance from sin and a return to the true spirit of worship. John, of course, was not Elijah in person, but he went before the Messiah “in the spirit and power of Elias” (Luke 1:17).
Mat 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.”
That is, they did not recognize him as Elijah.
Instead of accepting John and believing his message, the Jewish leaders had spurned him and his call to repentance. Herod had imprisoned him, and about a year later executed him.
It would be only a few months after the Transfiguration until the leaders of Israel would similarly do to Jesus “whatever they wished.”
Matthe 17:13 Then the disciples understood that He spoke to them of John the Baptist.
Updated on 21st Mar 2022