The Lord of all Glory

Posted: September 4, 2012 in Matthew

Matthew 16:28-17:13, “The Lord of all Glory”

The gospel in a nutshell.  That seems to have been what took place during what has become known as the transfiguration.  The Lord of all glory appeared in supremacy over and in fulfillment of all the law and prophecy of the Bible, all done in preparation of His suffering, death, and resurrection.  God the Son left infinite glory to come as a man, dwell among us, die for us, and then provide the promise of life, glory, and eternal fellowship with Almighty God.  All of that takes place in a single night on the mount of transfiguration. 

Of course, all of this took place in the perfect timing of God.  Jesus had consistently revealed Himself to be God.  He had all the power of God in that He could forgive sins, walk on water, feed thousands with a sack lunch, heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, and more.  Jesus had shown Himself to have all the authority of God when He taught with authority, putting to shame the tests of the Pharisees and Sadducees.  The disciples had truly begun to recognize Him as God, as demonstrated through Peter when he declared at Caesarea Philipp, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”  To be sure, they didn’t quite understand everything yet (Peter had much trouble understanding how the Son of God could possibly suffer and die), but they were coming more and more to the understanding of who Jesus truly is, and how they were to follow after Him as His disciples.

Now following on the heels of all of this, Jesus takes a few of His disciples to a remote place upon a mountain, and they receive a glimpse at the unrestrained glory of God coming through Christ.  They hear the voice of God the Father directing them to His Son.  And what is the purpose of it all?  To prepare them for Jesus’ death and resurrection.  They needed to know without a doubt Who it was that was going to suffer and die upon the cross, so that they would be prepared to wait for His glorious resurrection from the dead.  This was no ordinary Man; this was Christ Jesus, the Lord of all glory!

Matthew 16:28
28 Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”

  1. Why start with the last verse of Chapter 16?  We need to remember that although the text of Scripture is inspired by the Holy Spirit, the chapter and verse divisions are not.  Certainly Jesus was concluding the remarks He was making regarding discipleship.  In the latter part of Ch 16, Jesus had spoken about the value of a soul, because all people will one day be judged when the Son of Man returns in glory at the end of the age. … Jesus follows up that thought by saying that there would be some among them (the 12 disciples) who would not die until they saw the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.
  2. The question then becomes: what does Jesus mean by “coming in His kingdom?”  Is this a reference to the 2nd coming, or something else?  Most scholars link this statement with the Transfiguration.  Obviously, Jesus has NOT yet come again (contra the claims of preterists) and all the disciples are today dead and gone.  So Jesus must have been referring to something other than the 2nd coming & the judgment when He talked about “His kingdom.”  There were some disciples (3 specifically) that would see Jesus in a preview of His ascended glory, anticipating the Millennial Kingdom – this is what was seen during the Transfiguration.
    1. Interestingly enough, there was also one disciple among them that would get a very specific vision of the 2nd coming and Millennial kingdom of Jesus Christ: John, when he was shown the book of Revelation.  Yet even that doesn’t seem to be the reference here.  “Some” is plural & John was the only one we know who was given a vision of the apocalypse.
  3. All of this does bring up a good question: how exactly does Jesus view time?  After all, in one breath Jesus undoubtedly talks about the 2nd coming, and in the next breath He gives a veiled reference to an event that would happen in less than a week.  Is Jesus confused?  No.  Is Jesus mistaken?  Of course not.  Jesus is God, and being that God has always existed and will always exist, God is bound to look at time a bit differently than we do.  The preview of the kingdom at the Transfiguration to the 2nd coming ranges a span of more than 2000 years, but that is but a blink of an eye to the eternal God.  Jesus’ teaching about His kingdom have confused some, who think that everything Jesus prophesied about His kingdom needed to be fulfilled within a single generation of 40 years, and they see the destruction of Jerusalem & the Temple in 70AD by the Romans to be the literal fulfillment of the prophecies regarding the Great Tribulation.  But considering Jesus has not yet returned, this cannot be the era of the Kingdom today, so we’ve got to look at Jesus’ statements regarding time from HIS perspective; not ours.  Different phases in history were being implemented at the time of Jesus’ teaching; the outworking of those things would last for centuries longer.
    1. The bottom line is that God’s word is trustworthy.  When God makes a promise, He keeps it – no matter what.  We may not fully understand the promise – we may misinterpret what Jesus means when He said something – but Jesus will always keep His word.  It’s interesting how many prophecies are shown in the New Testament as fulfillments of Messianic promises, yet the original readers of the Old Testament may not have understood the full implications.  (Ps 22 for example, as David writes in anguish – ultimately speaking of Jesus’ suffering upon the cross…)  In hindsight, the fulfillment of the promise is evident & perfect; it’s looking forward that can be mysterious.  As we look forward to some of God’s future promises in the Bible, there may be some that seem mysterious, but we can trust that God will fulfill them perfectly, just as He has already perfectly fulfilled every promise in the past.

Matthew 17:1–13
1 Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves;

  1. After six days” – very specific timeframe.  Mark agrees in terminology with Matthew, whereas Luke states it was “about eight days.” (Lk 9:28)  Are these contradictions?  No.  We know this for a couple of reasons.  (1) ABOUT 8 days is indeed AFTER 6 days.  These could simply be different ways of counting the same timeframe.  Scholars note that Luke’s phrase is a generic Greek expression for saying “about a week,” thus there’s no contradiction. (2) We’re never told in any of the 3 gospel accounts the day from which the author began counting.  We know the general events, but we don’t know the actual day.  It’s quite possible that Matthew and Mark begin their counting from the time that Jesus taught about His death & resurrection & the cost of discipleship (Mt 16:21, Mk 8:31) and that Luke counts from Peter’s confession of faith in Jesus as the Son of God, which took place shortly prior to that (Lk 9:18).  Whatever the case, we need to give the benefit of doubt to the word of God.
    1. General rule of thumb any time you come across a supposed error in the Bible: give the Bible the benefit of the doubt.  Over and over again the Bible has proven itself to be true, without contradiction.  When we come across what we think is an error, the first assumption ought to be that WE are the ones that don’t have all of the information – which is usually correct.
  2. Peter, James, and John his brother” – very specific people.  Only 3 out of the 12 disciples.  These were the 3 that were closest to Jesus, but why Jesus specifically chose them instead of some of the others, we don’t know.  What we do know is that this experience had quite the impact upon them…especially Peter, who referenced it in one of his own letters to the church. (2 Pt 1:16-18)
    1. We’re not all going to have the same experiences as everyone else in our walk with the Lord Jesus.  We’re not all going to have the same exact gifts given to us by the Holy Spirit, nor will we have the same ministries entrusted to us.  We serve the Lord Jesus with what He HAS given us.  That’s not something that we’re supposed to be jealous about; it’s something we’re to be grateful for.  You may not have the same experience as someone else, but you do have your own walk with the Lord.  You have personally experienced your own call from God, and responded to that when you became a believer in Jesus Christ.  What has God given to you? Rejoice in that.
  3. up on a high mountain” – very non-specific place. J  There are some thoughts to the actual location of the Transfiguration, but it’s interesting that the Scripture itself does not name the place.  There are other places that are named in the Bible, but the mount of transfiguration is not one of them.  Perhaps the Holy Spirit would rather our attention be upon Mt. Calvary than the mount of transfiguration.  His transformation in front of the disciples is important, but it really points to the coming cross. 

2 and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.

  1. Amazing transformation!  Words seem to fail here at describing what exactly happened, but what we do know is that Jesus underwent some sort of supernatural change in the presence of the disciples.  He walked up the mountain dressed like the rest of them, and looking like a typical Middle-Eastern Jew of the 1st century, when all of a sudden everything changed. What’s being described here is far more than what is often portrayed in the movies – it’s not that Jesus got all cleaned up & wore bleached-white garments; it’s that Jesus was clothed in the glory of God, which shone forth from His very skin.  The word is μεταμορφόω (~metamorphosis) & is the same word Paul uses when writing to the Romans about being transformed through the renewing of our minds by the word of God. (Rom 12:1-2)  The Greek word speaks of a thorough transformation, from the inside-out (which was Paul’s point to the Romans), and somehow this is what Christ Jesus experienced in His transfiguration.  More than His outside body and clothing simply cleaned up, His entire being was transformed at that moment to something far greater than a mere human being.  This was a human being completely infused with all of the glory of God.
  2. This is the glory that Jesus had prior to His incarnation, and the glory He has today after His resurrection and ascension.  Jesus shared the glory of God from eternity past, seen in various times throughout the Bible anytime God appeared in glory.  Jesus is the image of the invisible God (Col 1:15), so when God appeared in glory, we see Jesus appearing in glory.  Sometimes it was as the Angel of the Lord, as when Jesus appeared to Joshua.  Other times, it was as the indescribable Person of God, as when Jesus appeared to Moses, and the other elders of Israel on Mt. Sinai (Exo 24).  Today, Jesus still has this glory, as the apostle John learned as he received the revelation.  Revelation 1:14–16, "(14) His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; (15) His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; (16) He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength." []
  3. Can you imagine being there & seeing it?  THIS is our God!  THIS is our glorious Savior!  With all due respect Warner Sallman & the many who attempt to paint our Lord Jesus, none of them can ever come close to an accurate portrayal of Jesus as how He looks today in all of His glory.  What Peter, James, and John saw on the mountain is a vision that must be experienced in order to comprehend.  Guess what Christian?  You WILL experience it!  ALL of us will one day see the Lord Jesus just like this, in all of His glory! …

3 And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him.

  1. Endless speculation has abounded on what Moses & Elijah were doing there with Jesus.  The only thing we know for certain is the topic of their conversation, as Luke records them talking to Jesus about His coming suffering and death which was to shortly occur in Jerusalem (Lk 9:31).  Apparently the two of them appeared in glorified forms as well, though no doubt they only shared in the glory of God, whereas Jesus IS the glory of God.
  2. Why Moses & Elijah?  Scripture doesn’t tell us, but the most likely explanation is that they represented the whole of Jewish history.  Moses = the law, Elijah = the prophets.  All of the work of God and inspired word of God in the past found its fulfillment in Jesus, and Moses and Elijah are the natural choices to represent them before the Lord.
    1. Because they are found here, many believe that Moses and Elijah may also be the 2 witnesses spoken of in Revelation 11.  Of course, there’s no way of knowing it with any certainty, but based upon the appearance of Moses & Elijah here, it certainly is possible.
  3. The fact that Moses and Elijah were there tells us a few things about life after death.
    1. Our souls are not reincarnated to come back as someone else.  Note that Moses and Elijah were available to be called to the mount of transfiguration.  They hadn’t been placed into another body, eternally “recycled” through reincarnation as many eastern religions would teach (i.e. Buddhism, Hinduism).
    2. Our identities are identifiable and eternal.  These were decidedly Moses & Elijah.  Even to people who had not ever met them (and were separated from them by many centuries), they were easily identifiable as Moses & Elijah.  When we die, certainly many things about our physical appearance might change, but there’s no doubt that we will be able to be identified by others.  Relatives long-dead (or friends we’ve never met) will still be able to know us by name.  Your identity was uniquely given you by God, and that is something that will never change, no matter how many eons go by.
    3. Those who die in the Lord remain in relationship with the Lord.  Moses & Elijah were able to talk with the Lord Jesus face-to-face.  They had no barrier between them and Jesus.  Sometimes we might get an idea of heaven as a really nice place that we can go to, but God is still removed from us somehow.  It’s like earth, but more cleaned-up, but we still don’t get any close-up interaction with God.  Thankfully, that’s not the case!  As believers in Jesus Christ, not only will our current relationship with the Lord carry over into heaven, but we will experience a closer relationship with Him there then what we experience here.  As John heard at the end of Revelation, the tabernacle of God will be with men, and He will dwell with them.  So close will He be to us that He will wipe every tear from our eye. (Rev 21:3-4)
  4. I’m not sure what’s more intriguing about this: that Moses & Elijah were there, or that Jesus wanted to talk to them.  Of course we don’t have a transcript of their conversation – we don’t know if Jesus was instructing them on what was going to happen at His crucifixion, or if Moses & Elijah were somehow offering their comfort to their Lord for what was about to take place.  Theories abound, but we just don’t know.  What we DO know is that Jesus spoke with them, which would have only happened if He wanted to speak with them.
    1. Jesus wants to speak with you, too.

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.”

  1. If it sounds like Peter doesn’t really know what he’s talking about, you’d be right.  Peter (like any of us) is flummoxed by what is taking place & he doesn’t really know how to respond.  Luke tells us that the three disciples were about to fall asleep when Jesus was transfigured (Lk 8:32), so it’s likely Peter wasn’t thinking clearly.  Mark tells us frankly that Peter didn’t know what to say because he was afraid (Mk 9:6).  All Peter knows is that this really incredible thing is taking place, and he feels as if he has to do something to respond to it.  So Peter being Peter, he speaks up. J
  2. What is Peter asking to do?  Basically make 3 houses on the mountain, one for each of them.  Tabernacles were temporary shelters, built during the feast of booths (tabernacles).  Theologically, Peter had the right mindset, in that the feast of tabernacles looked back to the time that Israel spent in the wilderness, and also looked forward to the time that we will dwell with God.  Perhaps the transfiguration took place during the time of the feast & Peter thought they could just stay up on the mountain and do it there.  Perhaps Peter was simply wondering what they could do to stay in that place.  No doubt this was the very definition of a “mountaintop experience,” and Peter didn’t want anything to change.  He was there with Jesus in all of His glory, and Moses & Elijah were there to boot.  What need would there be to ever go back down the mountain again?  Peter (like any of us) would have wanted to stay there as long as possible.
  3. Whatever Peter’s motivation, the basis of his request comes down to this: “Jesus, what can I do to stay here?  What can I do to help You?”  At first glance, that sounds pretty noble, but if we think about that a bit more, it’s pretty illogical.  What can WE do to give God a hand?  As if God needs our assistance…   David ran into a similar situation when he offered to build God a house.  Here David was, looking around at the blessings he received from God & he thought that he could do something nice for God in return.  God responded to him so graciously, yet firmly.  God basically tells David, “Have I ever asked for a house?  Have I ever dwelt in a house?  I’m the one who called you from the sheepfold to be king of Israel – I’m the one who has given you victory over your enemies.  I’m the one that is going to build you a house.” (2 Sam 7)  No doubt God was pleased with the fact that David’s heart was so humble and giving towards the Lord, but David wasn’t the one to do any favors for God; God is the one who gave the favors and grace to David.  Likewise with Peter – likewise with us.
    1. So many times we try to think of what we can do for God.  It’s not what we can do; it’s what God can do through us.  When Isaiah saw God high & lifted up in the heavenly temple, Isaiah did not immediately jump up and offer to do God a favor.  He received the cleansing that God offered, and then responded to the calling that God gave (Isa 6).  That’s the proper response.  The better question for Peter would have been, “Lord, this is amazing!  What would You have for us to do?”
    2. Isn’t that the problem?  Perhaps we don’t want to wait upon God for Him to tell us what to do; we’d rather think of something we want to do for God & offer Him that.  That leaves us in control of our own relationship with the Lord, but that’s a big problem.  If Jesus is our Lord & King, that means HE is the one who calls us & not the other way around.

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!”

  1. Peter hadn’t even gotten the words out of his mouth before God the Father cut him off. (God knows when we need to stop speaking! J)  God doesn’t so much chastise Peter as He does redirect him.  Peter obviously didn’t know what he was doing (who among us would have?!), so God redirected him back to the moment at hand.  He got Peter (and the rest) refocused upon Jesus.  This moment wasn’t really about Moses & Elijah & all of the incredible supernatural miracles taking place; it was about the glory of Jesus Christ.  That’s what Peter needed to be focused upon & not distracted by other things.  God tells the disciples to keep their eyes upon Jesus & to hear what He has to say.
    1. We can get so caught up in doing things for Jesus that we neglect to actually listen to Him.
  2. If God’s words sound familiar here, they should.  This was exactly the same phrase God spoke at Jesus’ baptism.  When John baptized Jesus, God the Father testified of God the Son, saying “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Mt 3:17)  God publicly identified His Son, endorsing Jesus of Nazareth as the One to whom all of Judea (and all the world) ought to look as the Son of God. It’s possible that John had been present for Jesus’ baptism (he & Andrew had been disciples of John the Baptist before becoming disciples of Jesus) – we can only imagine the impact of him hearing the voice of God repeat His testimony again.
  3. There’s one addition to God’s statement: “Hear Him!”  Obviously this is a command by God for the disciples to listen to Jesus without distraction – but it also seems to be God affirming the fulfillment of prophecy that stretches back to Moses.  Deuteronomy 18:15–16, "(15) “The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear, (16) according to all you desired of the LORD your God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, nor let me see this great fire anymore, lest I die.’" []  Jesus IS the Prophet of whom Moses spoke.  Jesus is the One to whom all Israel was supposed to listen.  Israel was afraid on the day that God gave the 10 Commandments from Sinai, and desired to hear God’s commands through Moses; Jesus comes as the greater-than-Moses – God Himself approaching us in humility and peace, speaking to us the word of God directly from the lips of God.
    1. It’s interesting that God the Father does not say “Hear Me!” but rather “Hear Him!”  When Jesus speaks, He has the authority of God because He IS God.  Thus the Father can point to the Son and vice-versa, without taking any attention and worship away from the Godhead.
    2. Have you heard Jesus?  Do you listen to Him as to the voice of God?  If we truly understand Jesus to be God Himself, it changes everything!  We cannot follow after ourselves and our lusts any longer; we must surrender those things to follow after Christ.  When we understand that Jesus is truly the God of all glory, we cannot help but realize our own sinfulness and need to be forgiven – and Jesus offers it freely.  Hear Jesus today!  Look to Him and be saved!

6 And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid.

  1. Of all the things the disciples did, this one makes the most sense!  They had seen the glory of God, but perhaps didn’t really understand it all as they gazed at the transfigured Jesus & glorified Moses & Elijah.  Now with the voice of God coming out of the shekinah cloud of glory, they understood that they were in the presence of the unspeakable glory of God.  They rightly feared and acted in response.  As when Isaiah declared his woe upon seeing the glory of God – or when Samson’s parents fell on their face when they realized they had seen the Living God – or any number of times when people realized their own sinfulness in comparison with the holy perfection of the presence of God, they feared and trembled.  The fear of the Lord is a good thing in that it helps us remember Who God is, and who we are in comparison with Him.  It helps us worship God and reverence Him correctly.  Yet at the same time, we can also be so consumed with fear that we shut ourselves off from looking to God – and that seems to be what happened here with the disciples.

7 But Jesus came and touched them and said, “Arise, and do not be afraid.” 8 When they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.

  1. What wonderful compassion of our Lord Jesus!  The 3 disciples fall on their faces in terror, and Jesus comes along and offers them comfort and strength.  He doesn’t merely command them from afar; He comes to them and physically touches them.  This is the God of love and compassion Who actively ministers to His servants.  The 3 had fallen on their faces at the voice of God, so now Jesus lovingly offers the compassionate touch of God.
  2. Jesus doesn’t remove the reverence, but He does remove the terror.  He doesn’t tell them that they responded wrongly; He simply gives them permission and freedom to rise.  They did not need to be afraid of God because Jesus had invited them there and given them access.  As long as they were with Jesus, everything was going to be OK.  It is indeed a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God (Hb 10:31), but as long as we’re with Jesus, everything is going to be fine. Apart from the grace of Christ, we have every reason to be terrified at the holy and awesome glory of God.  Sin must be judged, and human beings are consumed with it, as a disease that ravages our bodies and minds.  Yet in Jesus we find healing.  In Jesus we find forgiveness.  In Jesus we are lifted up and given grace and relationship with God Almighty.  In Jesus, everything is OK.
  3. By this point, Moses and Elijah were gone – Luke tells us that it was when they were leaving that Peter spoke up, perhaps to entice them to stay.  Peter, James, and John hadn’t missed out on anything; Moses & Elijah did what they came to do & they didn’t need to be around any longer.

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.”

  1. Interesting command.  Elsewhere, Jesus had given people restrictions on what to say & when – here He does the same thing with the three disciples regarding the transfiguration.  Seemingly, they may not have even been allowed to say anything to the other 12 apostles until after the resurrection.
  2. Why the delay?  Because the vision may have confused people, but the resurrection validates everything.  The resurrection would give complete context to Jesus’ identity as the Son of God.  Prior to the resurrection, it may have appeared that Jesus was receiving instruction from Moses & Elijah, or that perhaps all three figures would have been on equal terms with each other.  But in the rear-perspective of the resurrection already taking place, it’s plain to see that Moses and Elijah were there with Jesus on the mountaintop in submission to Jesus’ own authority as God.  The vision of the transfiguration was important, but it was also important not to misunderstand it.  The law and prophets bow to the authority of God; not the other way around.
  3. Note that Jesus again prophesies His resurrection.  He, Elijah, and Moses had spoken about His death & now He affirms again to His disciples that He would die and rise from the grave.  This was a tough thing for the disciples to understand (as Peter learned when he attempted to rebuke the Lord for talking that way), and they needed to hear it several times in order to be prepared for when it actually happened.

10 And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” 11 Jesus answered and said to them, “Indeed, Elijah is coming first and will restore all things.

  1. Logical time to ask the question. J  The disciples were referring to the prophecy at the end of the book of Malachi that spoke of the time the Elijah would come prior to the judgment day, and would turn the hearts of the fathers to their children & the hearts of the children to their fathers (Mal 4:5-6).  It was a mysterious prophecy, and the disciples wondered if they may have seen the fulfillment of it.  Yet if this was the fulfillment, why did Elijah only stay for a few moments?  Shouldn’t he have appeared to all Israel?
  2. Jesus answers them by affirming the Scriptures.  Yes, Elijah IS coming first.  Yes, the Scripture is going to be fulfilled perfectly, just like it always is.  How the Scripture is fulfilled is what Jesus goes on to tell them in vs. 12…

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.” 13 Then the disciples understood that He spoke to them of John the Baptist.

  1. Jesus had already addressed this with the disciples once (Mt 11:14), but in light of the transfiguration, it’s easy to understand why the disciples had questions about it again.  John the Baptist’s whole life had been the fulfillment of the role of Elijah, in reference to the Malachi prophecy.  He came to announce the coming of the King.  He came to preach repentance (turning the hearts of the fathers, etc.).  That was the entire point of John’s ministry.  The angel Gabriel had hold John’s father that John would go in the spirit & power of Elijah (Lk 1:17), and Jesus affirmed it twice during His earthly ministry.  This was John’s role.  John wasn’t the person of Elijah, but John was the fulfillment of Elijah’s ministry.
    1. Interestingly, Jesus did use the future tense in referring to Elijah in vs. 11.  In verse 12, Jesus plainly uses the past tense in referring to John, but it does leave a door open for some additional future fulfillment of the prophecy.  Perhaps this is more evidence of Elijah being one of the two witnesses of Rev 11.
  2. Just like John suffered, Jesus would also suffer.  The forerunner of the Messiah was rejected by the people, and the Messiah would soon be rejected as well.  This was all part of the plan of God, and things were working out exactly according to prophecy.

The transfiguration showed the glory of God – but it was all in preparation for the suffering of God.  There they were, with Jesus transformed before their eyes – they saw Jesus with the glory that is rightfully His – the glory that Jesus willingly put aside when He came to earth in His humble incarnation.  And yet, while in that glorified state, the conversation was about His death – the vision was to be shared after His resurrection – even the participants demonstrated the suffering that was yet to come.  The Lord of all glory came to suffer abject humiliation and death…all of this captured in a moment on the mount of transfiguration.

Why was all of this shown to Peter, James, and John?  Jesus wanted them to be witnesses to His glory so that (among other things), they would understand Who it is that was going to the cross.  They had known Jesus as God already, but no doubt after the transfiguration, they had an even greater understanding.  The disciples would struggle with this all the way through His suffering and death, but as they looked back at this event, they would have to admit that this was all due to the plan of God.  No one took Jesus’ life; He willingly laid it down.  How could anyone take the life of God?  How could anyone overpower the Lord of all glory?  It’s impossible!  And that’s the point.  The Lord of all glory willingly came and laid down His life for us, in order that we would live.

Christian – never take for granted what it is that Jesus did for you!  Remember it in all of the fullness of its contrast.  Jesus went from infinite glory to bearing all of the sin of all of mankind.  Why?  In obedience to His Father, and out of His love for you.  He came to seek and save the lost.  You were the lost one, and Jesus laid everything aside in order that you would be found.  THAT’s the love of the Lord Jesus Christ for you.  That is why we worship Him – that is what we surrender everything to Him.  What else could we do?  What else is the reasonable response?  Nothing that we offer to Jesus possibly comes close to what He has already done for us.

  1. timburns says:

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