Remember how Aaron led the people to sin, while his brother Moses was up on the mountain with the Lord? Remember how Moses came down from the mountain and in anger, he smashed the tablets—“These tables were God’s work; the words on them were written by God Himself” (Exodus 32:16 NLT) God had called Moses to come on the mountain and remain so He could give him “the tablets of stone on which… inscribed the instruction and commands so (Moses could) teach the people” (Exodus 24:12).
When you read about the tablets, you will note that God provided the tablets. “When the LORD finished speaking with Moses on Mount Sinai, He gave him the two stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant, written by the finger of God” (Exodus 31:18 NLT). Something changes. The people sin. The people surround Aaron and he asks for their gold to make a golden calf to worship.
Moses found out and broke the tablets and things are different. God tells Moses to chisel out the tablets. No longer does He provide the tablets. The Bible doesn’t say why God had Moses chisel out the tablets instead of providing the tablets like the first time. Many scholars believe it has something to do with repentance. Last time Moses was handed the tablets; this time the people would need to repent to receive tablets from the Lord. Today, consider what God is calling you to chisel out, how God is calling you to repentance.
“Then the LORD told Moses, ‘Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones. I will write on them the same words that were on the tablets you smashed.’” – Exodus 34:1 [NLT]
[Matthew 17:1-13, Mark 9:2-13, Luke 9:28-36]
Chronologically in the Bible, before the Transfiguration, we read that Peter recognizes Jesus as “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16b NIV). After Peter’s identification of Jesus as the Christ, we read about the prophecy of the church – the well-known statement, “you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church.” Following this prophecy, Jesus speaks to the disciples about the crucifixion and resurrection. Then Jesus, with the Three, headed up to a high mountain.
The Three were Peter, James, and John. They were the first to hear the call of Jesus (Mark 1:16-19). They were present during the healing of the daughter of Jairus, though the others were excluded (Luke 8:51). The Three were invited to come along with Jesus when He went to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane. (Matthew 26:30-46, Mark 14:26-42, Luke 22:39-46).
High mountains are associated with closeness to God and a readiness to receive His Word. We do not know the exact mountain where the Transfiguration occurred; however, many scholars believe it might have been Mount Hermon. We read about God directing Moses to go up a mountain (Mount Sinai) for Him to give Him the Law (Exodus 24:12-18). We read about Elijah going to Mount Horeb where He encounters the presence of God (1 Kings 19:8-18).
God’s voice echoes the same words on the mountain as spoken during the baptism of Jesus. “This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17 NIV). “This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased. Listen to Him!” (Matthew 17:5 NIV).
1) What is Peter’s focus when Moses and Elijah join Jesus?
2) When we see the glory of God, what should be our response?
3) What do Moses and Elijah represent?
4) Is John the Baptist Elijah?
5) Why did Jesus tell the disciples not to tell anyone about what they saw?