[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?
There are often moments in life when we see someone who needs encouragement, comfort, or help. Typically we will see a friend or a co-worker who is not feeling well. Or we will come across a person from our church family who needs some comforting. Even our own family needs to be shown compassion. The problem is that we are so busy today that we do not always realise it. When we do see it happening, we are so accustomed to handling everything online, that we may not know how to approach the situation. Some situations may seem so difficult, we shy away because we do not know what to say or how to act.
When Peter, James, and John went up the mountain with Jesus during the Transfiguration, they were witnesses to something very special. When they heard the voice from heaven, they fell on their faces in fear. They were “terrified” the Bible says in chapter 17 of Matthew. Jesus could have responded in any way; however, He simply did three things.
*He went to them.
*He touched them.
*He spoke to them.
Even the words He spoke were not part of some grand dissertation. He simply told them to get up and not to be afraid. He didn’t pull out a miracle and do something to show them things were okay. He did not address the voice they heard or their fears. The situation was left untouched. He could have given them more insight into the situation or attempted to discuss their feelings. Instead, it was short and sweet.
If you know someone who is in need of some comfort, some encouragement or support, do not worry that you will not know what to say or how to act. Keep it simple. Go to them. Give them a hug or pat on the back. Speak with them. In actuality, you may be listening more than anything. There’s no need to make the situation more difficult. Just being there makes all the difference. It is okay to admit you do not know what to say. The person will appreciate that you care.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
– 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 [ESV]