The Law. The Prophets. The Messiah.
Matthew 17:1-13; Mark 9:2-13; Luke 9:28-36
“Suddenly, when they looked around, Moses and Elijah were gone, and they saw only Jesus with them.” – Mark 9:8 NLT
What an amazing event this must have been to witness. Only Peter, James and John were privileged to see this incredible scene as Jesus was transfigured or transformed into what was apparently His heavenly form. We are told in the Gospels that His face glowed and His clothes became “dazzling white, far whiter than any earthly bleach could ever make them” (Mark 9:3 NLT). Matthew describes His face as being as white as the sun. This was a supernatural transformation, and it was capped off by the appearance of Moses and Elijah, two great icons of Jewish history.
This was obviously what Jesus had been referring to when He had earlier told the disciples, “And I tell you the truth, some standing here right now will not die before they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom” (Matthew 16:28 NLT). Peter, James and John were the ones who were fortunate to see Jesus in all His heavenly glory. What they saw was Jesus, the Messiah, in His future kingly form. It is very similar to what John would see in his vision many years later while exiled on the isle of Patmos. In his vision, John was given a glimpse of the future and he was privileged yet again to see Jesus in all His glory, coming to set up His Kingdom on earth. “Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. Its rider was named Faithful and True, for he judges fairly and wages a righteous war. His eyes were like flames of fire, and on his head were many crowns. A name was written on him that no one understood except himself. He wore a robe dripped in blood, and his title was the Word of God. The armies of heaven, dressed in the finest of pure white linen, followed him on white horses. From his mouth came a sharp sword to strike down the nations. He will rule them with an iron rod. He will release the fierce wrath of God, the almighty, like juice flowing from a winepress. On his robe at his thigh was written this title: ‘King of all kings and Lord of all lord’” (Revelations 19:11-16 NLT).
What Peter, James and John were witnessing was highly significant. They were watching as Moses, representing the Law of God, and Elijah, representing all the prophets of the Old Testament, were meeting with Jesus, the Messiah. If they still harbored any doubts about Jesus’ identity, this should have erased them. They were able to listen as Moses and Elijah discussed with Jesus His upcoming ascension back into heaven. And then, to top it all off, they heard the very voice of God telling them, “This is my Son, my Chosen One. Listen to him” (Luke 9:35 NLT). And then suddenly, Moses and Elijah were gone, and only Jesus was left standing before them. I think every part of this event was orchestrated by God and had a message just for the disciples. The appearance of Moses and Elijah was significant because they represented the Law and the Prophets. Moses also represented the old covenant, and as a prophet himself, Moses had predicted the coming of the great prophet (Deuteronomy 18:15-19). Elijah and the other Old Testament prophets had foretold about the coming of the Messiah and the future blessing of God on the people of Israel. Jesus was the fulfillment of all that had been written in the Law and the prophets (the Old Testament). Later on, after His resurrection, Jesus would tell the disciples, “When I was with you before, I told you that everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and in the Psalms must be fulfilled” (Luke 24:44 NLT). Jesus was the focal point of it all. He was the culmination and the climax of all that had been written about in the Old Testament. It had all been leading up to Him. And it is significant that when Moses and Elijah suddenly disappeared, Jesus alone was left. He was God’s “Chosen One,” the Messiah. He was the answer to man’s sin problem and He had full power and authority from God to act as His representative. So God told the disciples to listen to Him. He knew what He was doing. He was not only the Messiah, but He was the future King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He was the very same individual who was going to return the earth in power and glory and set up His Kingdom and destroy the armies of hell. This was the Son of God, not just some roaming rabbi. He was the King of Heaven. He was the Chosen One of God and He was fulfilling the will of God. So listen!
Father, sometimes we lose sight of just how significant Jesus really is. Sure, we recognize Him as our Savior. But we fail to realize just how powerful, majestic and important Jesus Christ really is. He is the one who is going to return to the earth some day and return Your creation back to its original perfect state. He is going to defeat the armies of hell and Satan himself. He is going to judge the unrighteous. He is going to rule and reign from a literal throne in Jerusalem. His death, burial and resurrection were not the end of His job. He has more to do. His work in not yet complete. Help us to recognize and respect just how holy, righteous, powerful and important Jesus Christ really is and, as a result, to listen to Him intently. Amen.
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men