Matthew 17:1-9

Sunday, May 21st, 2017

THE TRANSFIGURATION

INTRODUCTION:

 

The Destiny of the King includes the narrative about Jesus (13:54 - 17:27), the meaning and greatness of forgiveness (18:1-35), and the concluding statement, (1) And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these sayings, he departed from Galilee, and came into the coasts of Judaea beyond Jordan. (2) And great multitudes followed him; and he healed them there (19:1-2).

 

The narrative about Jesus in chapter 17 includes His transfiguration (17:1-9), His explanation of Elijah’s coming first (17:10-13), His casting out a demon which the disciples could not cast out (17:14-21), His prediction of His death and resurrection (17:22-23), and His answer regarding the tribute money (17:24-27).

 

I remind you of a couple of verses we have looked at previously –

Matthew 16:24-2824 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. 26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. 28 Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.

We see that –

    I.     THE FULFILLMENT OF Matthew 16:28 BEGINS WITH JESUS TAKING PETER, JAMES, AND JOHN WITH HIM INTO A HIGH MOUNTAIN – 17:1

 

Matthew 17:1 And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart.

 

And continues the thought of the last verse in chapter 16.

 

After six days means that six days transpired between the day Jesus spoke the words in 16:28 and the day on which He took the three disciples up into a high mountain.

 

This is learned from Luke 9:28 which states,

 

Luke 9:28 And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray.

 

It is apparent that Luke included the day on which Jesus spoke the words of Matthew 16:28 as well as the day on which He and the disciples went up to the top of the mountain.

 

Jesus taketh suggests Jesus takes with Him.

 

Peter, James, and John accompanied Jesus on this occasion.

 

James and John were the sons of Zebedee.

 

And bringeth them up into an high mountain suggests and leads them up into a high mountain.

 

Apart is by Himself or privately.

 

It means that no one else accompanied them.

We also see that –

  II.     JESUS’ APPEARANCE CHANGES IN THE SIGHT OF HIS THREE DISCIPLES – 17:2

 

Matthew 17:2 And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.

 

And was transfigured before them means that Jesus’ appearance was changed (or was transformed) in the sight of Peter, James, and John.

 

They saw Jesus in His heavenly glory.

 

Approximately forty years later Peter recounts this experience in II Peter 1:16-18 ,

 

II Peter 1:16-18 – (16) For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. (17) For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. (18) And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.

 

In addition, the three men saw that his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.

 

His face did shine as the sun indicates that Jesus’ face became very bright.

 

Furthermore, Jesus’ raiment (i.e. clothing) became white as the light, i.e. brilliant (i.e. bright, shining, or radiant) as the light.

Next, we see that –

 III.     ALL OF A SUDDEN MOSES AND ELIJAH ARE PRESENT AND TALKING WITH JESUS – 17:3

 

Matthew 17:3 And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.

 

And behold is used to gain the reader’s attention. Its use is comparable to all of a sudden.

 

There appeared unto them Moses and Elias is Moses and Elijah appeared to them, i.e. to Jesus, Peter, James, and John.

 

Talking with him suggests conversing with Him, i.e. with Jesus.

 

I find it interesting that the disciples knew that these two persons were Moses and Elijah without being introduced to them. From this, it is suggested that believers will know people in heaven without having to be introduced to them.

In addition, we see that –

 IV.     PETER SUGGESTS THAT THEY PREPARE SHELTERS FOR JESUS, MOSES, AND ELIJAH – 17:4

 

Matthew 17:4 Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.

 

Then transitions to the next thought in the narrative in the sense of and or now.

 

Answered Peter and said to Jesus suggests Peter told Jesus, and what Peter said takes up the rest of this verse.

 

He addresses Jesus as Lord, which indicates his recognition of Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of God, and of his submission to Jesus.

 

It is good for us to be here suggests it is pleasant (i.e. desirable or advantageous) that we are here.

 

Who would not want to be where Jesus was transfigured and was speaking to Moses and Elijah! He wanted the meeting to last longer so that he could enjoy it even more.

 

Here suggests in this place.

 

If thou wilt suggests, If You, (Jesus), wish, If You desire, or If You want.

 

It is a simple condition which, for sake of discussion, is assumed by Peter to be true. As it turns out, however, it was not true. Jesus did not want this.

 

The conclusion of this condition is let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.

 

Let us make here three tabernacles has been translated as an exhortation.

 

It might instead be understood as a suggestion of something which would be possible in the sense of we could make.

 

Here again suggests in this place.

 

Three tabernacles means three temporary structures in the sense of three huts.

 

One for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias means that there would be individual huts for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah.

 

Peter was apparently thinking of making this mountaintop experience last longer by making a place of rest for Jesus, for Moses, and for Elijah.

As we move on, we see that –

   V.     GOD THE FATHER ANNOUNCES THAT JESUS IS HIS BELOVED SON – 17:5A

 

Matthew 17:5 a – While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son. . . .

 

While he yet spake is understood in the sense of while he (i.e. Peter) was yet (or still) speaking.

 

Behold is used to gain the reader’s attention.

 

A bright cloud overshadowed them (i.e. overshadowed Jesus, Peter, James, John, Moses, and Elijah).

 

A bright cloud is a shining (or radiant) cloud and represents the presence of God the Father.

 

Overshadowed suggests covered.

 

And behold again serves to gain the reader’s attention and conveys the impression all of a sudden.

 

They heard a voice out of the cloud means that they heard the voice of God the Father Whose presence the cloud represented.

 

Something such as there was, they heard, came, or was heard needs to be supplied in the mind of the reader with the result that a voice out of the cloud is understood in the sense of (there was or they heard) a voice out of the cloud or a voice (came or was heard) out of the cloud.

 

The tense of which said indicates that its action was ongoing and occurring at the time as the action of the supplied verb. It is understood simply as saying.

 

What the voice was saying is, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.

 

It is an announcement as well as a confirmation to Peter, James, and John that Jesus is God’s promised Messiah, advising them that they need to listen to whatever He says to them.

 

This suggests This One or He and refers to Jesus.

 

Is denotes a timeless truth, something which is always and under all circumstances true.

 

My beloved Son, where my refers to God the Father, is My Son, the beloved One or My Son, the dearly loved One. It means that Jesus is God the Son, the Second Person of the Trinity.

 

Not only does God the Father announce that Jesus is His beloved Son, but we also see that –

 VI.     GOD THE FATHER ANNOUNCES THAT HE IS WELL PLEASED IN JESUS – 17:5B

 

Matthew 17:5 b – While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said . . . in whom I am well pleased. . . .

 

In whom I am well pleased suggests in Whom I take delight and means that God the Father is well pleased or takes delight in Jesus.

We also see that –

VII.     GOD THE FATHER ANNOUNCES THAT THE DISCIPLES SHOULD LISTEN TO JESUS – 17:5C

 

Matthew 17:5 c – While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said . . . hear ye him.

 

Hear ye him, where ye refers to Peter, James and John and him refers to Jesus, means listen to Him.

 

The tense of hear indicates ongoing action which is to be done continually in the sense of continue hearing Him or keep on listening to Him.

 

I am reminded of I Corinthians 2:16 which says,

 

I Corinthians 2:16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

 

In the context of I Corinthians 2 , this means that we as believers have the mind of Christ in the Scriptures. We must, therefore, continue to study the Scriptures and put them into practice in our daily lives. Hear Ye Him implies that we as believers are not only to listen to what Jesus says to us in the Bible but also that we are to obey what the Bible says.

Next we see that –

VIII.   PETER, JAMES, AND JOHN REACT TO GOD THE FATHER’S SPEAKING TO THEM BY FALLING ON THEIR FACES IN FEAR – 17:6

 

Matthew 17:6 And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid.

 

And when the disciples heard it, they immediately fell on their face, which suggests that Peter, James, and John threw themselves face down on the ground.

 

And were sore afraid is and they were extremely afraid (i.e. very afraid or greatly afraid) or they were terribly frightened.

At just the right time, we see that –

 IX.     JESUS TOUCHES PETER, JAMES, AND JOHN AND TELLS THEM TO GET UP AND STOP BEING AFRAID – 17:7

 

Matthew 17:7 And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid.

 

And continues the narrative.

 

Jesus came is understood in the sense of after Jesus came to (them) or after Jesus had approached (them).

 

And touched them indicates that Jesus physically touched Peter, James, and John.

 

He also spoke to them, and His words are introduced by said.

 

What He said is, Arise, and be not afraid, i.e. get up and stop being afraid.

 

The tense of be not afraid indicates that they were already afraid and were to stop being afraid.

Next, we see that –

   X.      PETER, JAMES, AND JOHN REALIZE THAT MOSES AND ELIJAH ARE NO LONGER PRESENT – 17:8

 

Matthew 17:8 And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only.

 

And transitions to the next thought in the sense of then or now.

 

When they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man means that having looked up the three disciples saw no one. Moses and Elijah were gone.

 

Save Jesus only is except Jesus alone or except Jesus only.

Finally, we see that –

 XI.     PETER, JAMES, AND JOHN ARE INSTRUCTED TO TELL NO ONE ABOUT WHAT THEY HAD SEEN UNTIL AFTER JESUS’ RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD – 17:9

 

Matthew 17:9 And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.

 

And as they came down from the mountain is understood in the sense of and while they (i.e. Peter, James, and John) were coming down (or descending) from the mountain. It was somewhere on the way down from the mountain that Jesus said what follows.

 

They refers to Jesus, Peter, James, and John.

 

Jesus charged them means that Jesus commanded (i.e. ordered or gave orders to) them (i.e. to Peter, James, and John).

 

Saying introduces Jesus’ command.

 

Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.

 

The tense and mood of tell forbid its action in its very beginning and implies do not begin to tell or never tell.

 

The vision suggests the thing you have seen, i.e. Jesus’ transfiguration and His meeting with Moses and Elijah.

 

To no man is to no one or to nobody. It means don’t tell anyone what you saw on the mountain.

 

The time the disciples had to keep what they had seen secret was until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.

 

After this time they would be free to tell what they had seen.

 

Until suggests until the time when.

 

The Son of man is Jesus.

 

Be risen again is rises up.

 

From the dead is from dead ones.

 

It pictures Jesus as being one of the dead ones until He was brought back to life again.

CONCLUSION:

 

It wouldn’t be long before Jesus would be crucified and shed His blood for your sins and mine and on the third day would rise again from the dead. This would guarantee that God the Father had accepted His sacrifice on behalf of sinners and that all those who receive Him as their Savior from sin and its consequences would be forgiven and receive eternal life.

 

Have you trusted Him as your personal Savior?

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