Friday, December 11, 2009
Matthew 17 Beholding His Glory
After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and his brother John, and led them up on a high mountain by themselves.
2 He was transformed in front of them, and His face shone like the sun. Even His clothes became as white as the light.
3 Suddenly, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him.
4 Then Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it's good for us to be here! If You want, I will make three tabernacles here: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah."
5 While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said: This is My beloved Son. I take delight in Him. Listen to Him!
6 When the disciples heard it, they fell facedown and were terrified.
7 Then Jesus came up, touched them, and said, "Get up; don't be afraid."
8 When they looked up they saw no one except Him—Jesus alone.
9 As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, "Don't tell anyone about the vision until the Son of Man is raised from the dead."
The purpose of the transfiguration was to reveal to the disciples the glory of Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 1:16 For we did not follow cleverly contrived myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ; instead, we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. 17 For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, a voice came to Him from the Majestic Glory: This is My beloved Son. I take delight in Him!18 And we heard this voice when it came from heaven while we were with Him on the holy mountain. 19 So we have the prophetic word strongly confirmed.
Peter had just confessed Jesus as the Christ the son of the living God, and He had promised to reveal His glory to the disciples.
Matthew 16: 27For the Son of Man is going to come with His angels in the glory of His Father, and then He will reward each according to what he has done. 28 • I assure you: There are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom."
Here was a foreshadowing of the Glory of the Son when He would come in Glory in His kingdom. . The word translated "kingdom" can be translated "royal majesty" or "kingly splendor". One scholar (William Hendriksen) translates it "His royal dignity". It seems obvious that He was referring to Peter, James, and John and what they saw on the Mount of Transfiguration. Jesus was not referring to the actual establishment of his kingdom; He was referring to the royal splendor and glory of the King. He was referring to what they would see that is recorded in 17:2. What they saw was a foretaste of His glory that will be seen when He bodily returns and establishes His kingdom.
Luke 9: 26 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory and that of the Father and the holy angels. 27 I tell you the truth: there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God." 28 About eight days after these words, He took along Peter, John, and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. 29 As He was praying, the appearance of His face changed, and His clothes became dazzling white. 30 Suddenly, two men were talking with Him—Moses and Elijah. 31 They appeared in glory and were speaking of His death, which He was about to accomplish in Jerusalem.
When they looked up they saw no one except Him—Jesus alone.
Hebrews 12:2 keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of God's throne.
John declared John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
- Be Assured By His Glory
2 Peter 1: 18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. 19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; 19 So we have the prophetic word strongly confirmed.
Transfigured – "metamorphoomai"
Philippians 2:68 (NASB) " 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality
with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bondservant,
made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by
becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross."
John 17:5 (NKJV) "And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was."
John 17:24 (NKJV) "Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world."
Christ, by highest heaven adored, Christ, the everlasting Lord:
Late in time, behold Him come, Offspring of the virgin's womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see,
Hail the incarnate Deity!
Hebrews 1:3 (NKJV) "who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high."
". Look again at verse two and see the brightness and the light (read verse 2). Some have compared this to when Moses face glowed after He had been on the mountain with God.
Exodus 34:(NKJV) " 29 Now it was so, when Moses came down from Mount Sinai (and the two tablets of the Testimony were in Moses' hand when he came down from the mountain), that Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone while he talked with Him. 30 So when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him."
Moses was reflecting the glory of God, but Jesus was radiating the glory of God. The source of the light on Moses was outside of him. The source of the light from Jesus was inside Him. This "transfiguration" was a tremendous display of His deity to His inner-circle of disciples. In the coming days when the Son of God would be crucified and buried, they would need this experience to fall back on to affirm that He was indeed God in flesh.
John 1:14 (NKJV) "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth."
Where did they behold His glory? On that mountain! As awesome as that experience was, think what it will be like when He comes again.
Matthew 16:27a (NKJV) "For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father…"
Matthew 25:31 (NKJV) "When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory."
The Presence of Moses and Elijah (17:34) The Old Testament was often called "The Law and the Prophets" Moses represented the law and Elijah was probably the most prominent of the prophets. The testimony here is that all the law and the prophets point to Jesus. He is the fulfillment of the law and the prophesies. These two Old Testament characters also gave evidence to these three disciples that Jesus was who He said He was. They were there to honor Jesus, not as equals. From Luke's account, we learn what Moses and Elijah were talking to Jesus about. Luke 9:31 (NKJV) "who appeared in glory and spoke of His decease which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem."
The word translated "decease" is the word "Exodus". They were not just admiring His glory; they were talking to Him about His death on the cross that was coming. Just as the Moses led Exodus in the Old Testament led those in bondage out of Egypt into the promised land, Jesus' death and resurrection would free many captives taking them to freedom from sin and ultimately to heaven.
This bright cloud was called by the Jews the Shekinah glory cloud. Throughout the Old Testament, it symbolized God's manifest presence with his people. The Queen of England has several residences, but the royal standard flies over the place where she is in residence. This Shekinah cloud was almost like the royal standard that showed where God's manifest presence was abiding. This cloud was first mentioned in Exodus when it appeared in order to lead the Israelites in their Exodus from Egypt (Exodus 13:21-22). It was probably this cloud that descended on Mt. Sinai when God was giving Moses the law. When the tabernacle was finished, it was this cloud that filled it so that even Moses could not go in. It was likely this same cloud that filled the temple at the dedication by Solomon (1 Kings 8:10). It is possibly this cloud that would come to envelop Jesus as He ascended to heaven after His resurrection (Acts 1:9). In verse 6 we find that the disciples were terrified by this visible manifestation of the presence of God. This is the common response in Scripture to being in the very presence of God.
The Prophesy about Elijah (17:1013)
Malachi 4:(NKJV) " 5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. 6 And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse."
I want to close by focusing on the last two words that God spoke from the cloud on the mountain in verse 5, "Hear Him!" The way that we hear Him today is through what He has already said in the Bible. It may not be accompanied by the Shekinah cloud or the appearance of Moses and Elijah, but it is just as much God speaking as it was on that mountain. In fact in some ways, what we have is better.
2 Peter 1:19 (ESV) "And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts."
"I do not know any truth in the Bible that is more relevant for believers in our day, since we live in an age when people appeal to their experience as the only sure measure of anything, not realizing that our experiences can be wrong or misleading. We hear people justifying all types of unbiblical teaching or behaviour, by words such as, 'God told me this is all right' or 'I feel at peace with what I'm doing'. But here is Peter – a prominent apostle of the Lord, a man who had a visual experience of Christ's transfiguration as well as having heard an audible word of God from heaven, experiences confirmed as true by the other apostles who were with him at the time – speaking of God's revelation in the Bible as being 'more certain' even than his exceptional experience. He does it to remind us that we must evaluate our experiences by the Bible's teaching, rather than the other way around."
James Montgomery Boice
Lk.9:32 tells us that as Jesus prayed, "Peter and those with him were heavy with sleep." They almost slept through the Transfiguration! I used to worry if someone nodded off while I preached but then I realized that the disciples went to sleep on Jesus, Moses and Elijah!
2. Be Transformed by His Grace
1.YOU MUST RECOGNISE HIM AS GOD.
2 Cor 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
JOH 5:22 Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son,that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him. (NIV)
1JO 4:15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. (NIV)
2.YOU MUST RESPECT HIM AS GOD.
A.Let Him Cut Across Your Agenda
MAT 17:4 Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters - one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah." (NIV)
B.Let Him Dictate Your Priorities
The divine inflexible holiness. There was a gifted young artist who in wartime was billeted as a soldier in a hut in France with a score of other men. Some of them had placarded on the walls of their hut pictures of a coarse and offensive kind. The young artist was a Christian, and he hated it. He was in a dilemma. He knew that mere protesting would achieve nothing. But one night, when the hut was quiet and his companions asleep, he got out a candle and a pencil and a bit of paper about the size of a postcard, and began to draw the head of Jesus Christ. He had sometimes tried to paint a picture of Christ before, and always he knew he had failed. But now he tried again. When it was finished, he put it on the wall above his own bed. He wondered what the others would say in the morning when they saw it. Morning came, and they saw it. Nothing was said at all. But within a week every other picture had somehow vanished from the walls, and only that face of Christ remained. The other things just could not live beside it. It is thus that in Jesus the divine holiness confronts us. There is nothing so cleansing and strengthening, so sure a defence in the day of danger, as one steady look at the face of Jesus. There are some things that just cannot happen when He is there. Jesus, Master, I have seen Thy face, and I know I have seen the holiness of God.
And if it is thus that the divine holiness encounters us, is the same not also true of the divine mercy? We sometimes find it difficult to believe God can forgive us, so deeply are we implicated in the sinfulness of humanity, so mixed with earth our most celestial motives. How can forgiving love get through? If indeed it could have been that Jesus were here today, if this could have been not a church in Edinburgh but the beach at Capernaum and we could have heard Him saying, as He said of old, 'I love you and am your Friend for ever—rise up and follow' Me'; if we could have climbed Calvary and heard Him cry 'Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do'—do you not think that would have changed our thoughts of God? Well, He is here, and He is saying it; and can you doubt the heart of God when you are looking at the face of Jesus?
C.Let Him Become The Focus Of Your Worship
3.YOU MUST REJOICE IN HIS GRACE
A.Praise The Lord For His Grace
JOH 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
B.Praise The Lord For His Love
C.T.Studd : "If Jesus Christ be God, and He died for me, then no sacrifice is too great for me to make for Him."
C.Praise The Lord With Your Life
ROM 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices..