Thursday, January 17, 2013

Matthew 17 - Christ Unveils His Glory

LINK: Matthew 17


 http://www.ccel.org/bible/phillips/JBPhillips.htm
111. Jesus is Transfigured on the Mountain: Matthew 17:1-13, Mark 9:2-13, Luke 9:28-36

BACKGROUND

Matthew and Mark say that this took place "six days" and Luke says "some eight days," but apparently "some" connotes "about a week" in the Jewish equivalent. 

The disciples had so much to think about in that week! Peter verbally acknowledged that Jesus was the Messiah. Consequently, Jesus introduced them to the concept of "church" and predicted, for the first time, His death and resurrection. What a prologue to the Transfiguration!


Traditionally, the mountain has been believed to be Mt. Tabor (near #2 on the map), but there are two reasons this is unlikely:

1) It is too far from Caesarea-Philippi (#13) where they were previously located and Capernaum (#15) where they will be going. 
2) It is unlikely Jesus would have gone up to a place of heathen worship.
Mt. Hermon seems to be a better choice because it is a "high mountain" and it is closer to Caesarea-Philippi and Capernaum/Galilee. 

The Greek word for transfigured is metemorphōthē. It is where we get our English word, metamorphosis. I encourage meditating on the description of Jesus here and basking in His light as part of your application today. 


The appearance of Moses and Elijah are significant because Moses represented the Law and Elijah, the prophets. Jesus, after His resurrection would explain to the two on the road to Emmaus, "all the things concerning Him beginning with Moses and with all the prophets" (Luke 24:27). Jesus was the fulfillment of the Law (by being all-righteousness) and the prophecies concerning Him! If you have not joined us for the Bible Book Club, I encourage you to do so in order to see how The Scarlet Thread of Redemption about Jesus is woven throughout the Law and the prophets!


Peter wanted to build tabernacles to extend the visit for Moses (lawgiver), Elijah (prophet), and Jesus (Messiah). God's intervention tells us that Jesus fulfilled all of this. and all they needed to see was Jesus. Plus, now was not the time for building tabernacles because Jesus had to go and finish His work by going to the cross. 


Many years later, Peter (one of three eyewitnesses), tells us the significance of that high mountain miracle:
For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, “This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased”— and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain. (2 Peter 1:17-18) 
In faith, Peter had made profession of Jesus as Messiah, and this experience confirmed it!

 Another eyewitness, John, wrote:
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14) 
Jesus unveiled His glory and gave a sneak peek into heaven, the glory of the kingdom, and even the glory of the cross (Luke 9:31)! 

112. Jesus heals a demon-possessed boy: Matthew 17:14-21, Mark 9:14-29, Luke 9:37-43

Jesus came down from the mountain top to deliver this boy. Why couldn't the disciples drive out the demon?  That is the beauty of studying all three accounts!

According to Warren Wiersbe, there were two things lacking in their lives:

First on the list was faith (Matt. 17:19–20); they were part of an unbelieving generation and had lost the confidence that they needed in order to use their power. But prayer and fasting were also lacking (Mark 9:29), which indicates that the nine men had allowed their devotional disciplines to erode during their Lord’s brief absence. No matter what spiritual gifts we may have, their exercise is never automatic. (The Bible Exposition Commentary, Lk 9:37)

113. Jesus predicts his death the second time: Matthew 17:22-23, Mark 9:30-32, Luke 9:44-45


From the region of Caesarea Philippi and northeast Palestine, Jesus began to head through Galilee and Perea to Judea and into Jerusalem where He would face His crucifixion and resurrection six months later. He needed to prepare His disciples now, even though they would not fully comprehend it until later.

114. Peter finds the coin in the fish's mouth: Matthew 17:24-27

How appropriate that Matthew, the Jewish tax-collector, would be the only gospel writer that would record this miracle! Every Jew over 20 years old was required to pay a temple tax. His question to Peter about the king indicates that He was the King of kings and He, as well as His sons of the kingdom (disciples), should be exempt from paying, but He needed to fulfill the Law and not offend. 

REFLECTION/APPLICATION


This passage is perfect for experiencing the Scriptures with the five senses using the Loyola Method.  If you have not tried it yet, here is the explanation:


Here is a handout about Meditation that includes this method and many others:


I hope you have a great time with Jesus!

PRAYER 

Let this song called "A Face that Shone" by Michael Card lead you into worship. It ties the Moses, and His encounter with God's glory in both the Old and New Testaments! 

"A Face that Shone"

He ate the bread of heaven
Drank water from the rock
And the grumbling children followed
Like a misbegotten flock
He climbed up on a mountain
They couldn't even touch
Who'd have known that one encounter
Could have ever meant so much

And up upon that high place
In a cleft of solid stone
His face was set on fire
As the God of Glory shone
He alone had seen it
And had lived to tell the tale
But because they feared the fire
He had to hide behind a veil

A face that shone with the radiance of the Father
Though it had known and endured dark desert days
A face that shone with the glory of Another
So the prophet would discover
As the glory was fading away

He was the Bread from Heaven
He would be the smitten Rock
He had twelve confused disciples
They were his bewildered flock
When he climbed upon the mountain
He took Peter, James and John
In the face of pending glory
They soon began to yawn

As he prayed while they were sleeping
He was transfigured into Light
His face a flash of lightning
His clothes so burning bright
So Moses finally saw the face
Before he'd hidden from
Then came a voice from heaven
This is my beloved Son

The face that shone is the Glory of the Father
And he had known from the start that it was so
The face that shone had let the light shine out of darkness
And we're changed into His likeness
As we gaze upon the Son

But you and me we tend to flee from shining faces
We see the glow and then we know that we're undone
They shine His light into out emptiest of spaces
With their bright and shining faces
Reflect the radiance of the Son

The face that shone is the Glory of the Father
And he had known from the start that it was so
The face that shone had let the light shine out of darkness
And we're changed into His likeness
As we gaze upon the Son
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