TUESDAY, APRIL 18
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 17
This chapter contains a significant and important story that occurs on what we call The Mount of Transfiguration. The Bible says Jesus took Peter, James, and John (who were basically Jesus’ inner circle) up this mountain. And once they got there, Jesus was transfigured.
Transfigured comes from the Greek word that we translate metamorphosis. Metamorphosis is the process of something taking on a different form (like a caterpillar becoming a butterfly or a sweet, cute, cuddly one year old becoming a two year old). The transfiguration that Jesus had was not necessarily His becoming something different as much as it was a moment of revealing who He really was. It was as if His humanity was temporarily pulled back and His divinity was revealed in the form of an almost blinding light.
Then, just as those men were trying to comprehend what was going on with Jesus, Moses and Elijah appeared.
There is just a ton of stuff that we could talk about surrounding the appearance of Moses and Elijah. For example, we could talk about how their appearance is undeniable proof of eternal life. They had been physically gone from this earth for a long time but here they are and doing quite well it seems.
Another thing that Moses and Elijah bring to the table is their connection to the Old Testament. Moses represented the Law and Elijah represented the prophets. Jesus standing there with them represented the fulfillment of both as well as the Way into the new covenant.
In Luke’s account (Luke 9), we are told a little bit about what these men talked about. Luke 9:31 says they talked about Jesus’ departure that He was about to accomplish in Jerusalem. The word translated departure is literally exodus. By the way, Moses should have been an absolute expert on exodus.
Jesus was not just going to die in Jerusalem. He was not even just going to be buried in Jerusalem. He was in fact, preparing to leave Jerusalem by this spiritual exodus which literally means “a way out”. Here’s a crazy thing. In 2 Peter 2:15, Peter talked about his impending death in the same way. He said it would be his exodus.
This should be one of the great reminders that death for a believer is not the end of existence. It is an exodus, a release or a way out of, from the bondage of this world into the glorious liberty of heaven. Now, I have to hurry because I am basically out of space and you are out of time.
Our friend Peter decided the best thing to do was to build three tents or tabernacles for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah. Obviously, Peter thought those guys might want a place to stay on that mountain. And I suspect, Peter could think of no better place to be at that moment.
But… There always seems to be a “but” in Bible stories. A bright cloud (I didn’t make that up. The Bible calls it a bright cloud. I’m not sure what that is. Most of the clouds I have seen are not necessarily bright. Instead they kind of block out brightness.) appeared and God spoke out of that cloud. The message was a reminder that Jesus was indeed God’s Son and they should listen to Jesus (good advice).
It wasn’t long before Jesus was leading Peter, James, and John down the mountain. As important as that mountaintop experience was, the work of the ministry would take place in the valley. Let me leave you with this. We, too, need those mountain top times but we must never forget the needs in the valley.