The Gospel of Matthew: a commentary & meditation 
 "This is my beloved Son; listen to him."

Scripture: Matthew 17:1-9

1 And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain apart. 2 And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his garments became white as light. 3 And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Eli'jah, talking with him. 4 And Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it is well that we are here; if you wish, I will make three booths here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Eli'jah." 5 He was still speaking, when lo, a bright cloud  overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well  pleased; listen to him." 6 When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces, and were filled with awe. 7 But Jesus came and touched them, saying, "Rise, and have no fear." 8 And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only. 9 And as they were coming down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, "Tell no one the vision, until the Son of man is raised from the dead."
Meditation: Are you prepared to see God's glory? God is eager to share his glory with us!  We get a glimpse of this when the disciples see Jesus transfigured in glory on the mountain.  Jesus' transfiguration on the mountain is celebrated in the Eastern and Western churches on August 6.  Mark's account tells us that Jesus' garments became glistening, intensely white.  When Moses met with God on Mount Sinai the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God (see Exodus 34:29).  Paul says that the Israelites could not look at Moses' face because of its brightness (2 Cor. 3:7). In this incident Jesus appeared in glory with Moses, the great lawgiver of Israel, and with Elijah, the greatest of the prophets, in the presence of three of his beloved apostles. What is the significance of this mysterious appearance? Jesus went to the mountain knowing full well what awaited him in Jerusalem his betrayal, rejection and crucifixion.  Jesus very likely discussed this momentous decision to go to the cross with Moses and Elijah.  God the Father also spoke with Jesus and gave his approval: This is my beloved Son; listen to him. The cloud which overshadowed Jesus and his apostles fulfilled the dream of the Jews that when the Messiah came the cloud of God's presence would fill the temple again (see Exodus 16:10, 19:9, 33:9; 1 Kings 8:10; 2 Maccabees 2:8).  Peter, James, and John were privileged witnesses of the glory of Christ.  We, too, as disciples of Christ are called to be witnesses of his glory.  We all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit (2 Cor. 3:18).   The Lord wants to reveal his glory to us, his beloved disciples.  Do you seek his presence with faith and reverence?

"Lord, draw me near to you and let me see your glory.  May I never doubt your love and saving help."


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(c) 2002 Don Schwager