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The Transfiguration June 3, 2018

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
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Here are my thoughts on Matthew 17:1-13.

Summary: In this passage, Jesus takes His intimates to a mountain in upper Galilee. There, they witness the following events:

  • the total change of His body and form
  • Moses and Elijah discussing His death with Him while encompassed by His glory
  • God asserting the necessity of the suffering of His Son
  • God asserting the supremacy of His Son.

His intimates are temporarily traumatized by these events. He then:

  • instructs them to temporarily refrain from divulging these events, since He wants others to view Him as their spiritual Messiah
  • asserts that these events do not contradict the prophecy in Malachi 4:5-6, as it has been fulfilled by John the Baptist.

Indeed, He will share the fate of John the Baptist.

Thoughts: Here, we see that Jesus speaks with Moses and Elijah during His Transfiguration. Ryle offers some insights on this point:

Second, we have in these verses an unanswerable proof of the resurrection of the body, and the life after death. We are told that Moses and Elijah appeared visibly in glory with Christ: they were seen in a bodily form. They were heard talking with our Lord. Fourteen hundred and eighty years had rolled round since Moses died and was buried; more than 900 years had passed away since Elijah was taken “up to heaven in a whirlwind” (2 Kings 2:1), yet here they are seen alive by Peter, James and John!

I completely missed this point when I read through this passage, so I am glad that it did not escape Ryle’s attention. Now one could ask, “does this account contradict Paul’s teaching concerning the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15:35-58? Does Paul teach that Moses and Elijah will be “asleep” until the Second Coming of Christ?” One might also wonder if Moses and Elijah had truly been resurrected before the events of this passage – or if Jesus’ intimates were experiencing a dream or vision. I hope to meet Moses and Elijah in the next life and probe them on this point, as the events of this passage are mind-boggling.

We also see that Peter, James and John are temporarily traumatized by the events of this passage. While we often make sport of Jesus’ disciples – especially Peter’s propensity to speak and act rashly – we must admit that we would also have been overwhelmed by the Transfiguration of Christ if we had directly witnessed it. If we were confronted by the divinity of Christ, could we actually respond in a calm, cool and collected manner? Indeed, we serve an infinite and holy God; while we fail to comprehend the full extent of His holiness, we know that He calls us to worship Him. Moreover, we cannot help but obey this calling.

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