‘…His face did shine like the sun, and his raiment was as white as the light’ Matthew 17:2
‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God’ (Matthew 16:16)
In the last lesson, in our study in the book of the Gospel, we read how Jesus the Messiah opened the eyes of a man who was born blind. Nothing is impossible for Jesus because He is the very Word of God which appeared on earth as a man. That is why Jesus could control every force upon earth–the wind, the sea, demons, disease and death. Everywhere Jesus went the crowds pressed in on Him, but
few recognized who He really was.
They considered Him a prophet, but did not recognize that all the fullness of God dwelt in Him. They did not understand that Jesus was
the Lord of Glory,
who came from heaven. In this lesson, God willing, we will see how the Lord Jesus was full of the light of the glory of God, and how He displayed it for a brief moment one day when He was on a mountain with three of His disciples.
Now let us return to the holy Gospel. The Scripture says: (Luke 9:18-19; Matthew 16:15-17) “And it came to pass, as he was alone praying, his disciples were with him; and he asked them, saying,
They answering said, John the Baptist; but some say, Elijah; and others say that one of the prophets is risen again … He said unto them, But who say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said,
Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona; for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father, who is in heaven”.
Let us stop here and consider the question Jesus asked His disciples one day when He was alone with them. Jesus asked them,
“Who do people say that I am?”
The disciples answered Jesus that most people said that He was one of the prophets. Then Jesus questioned them again, saying, “But who do you say that I am?” One of the disciples, Simon Peter, answered Jesus,
“You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God!”
Truly, the question that Jesus asked His disciples is an important question which every one of us must answer! You who are studying this lesson, who do you consider Jesus to be? What do you think about Him? Do you merely classify Him with the prophets? Or do you agree with Peter who declared that Jesus is “the Messiah, the Son of the Living God”?
Do you believe that Jesus is the Messiah — the Redeemer whom God promised long ago on that day when our ancestors, Adam and Eve, sinned? Do you believe that Jesus is “the Son of the Living God”—the Word of God which came down from heaven?
As you know, to this very day, there are many people who deny that Jesus is the Son of God, because they think that this name means that God took a wife and had a child by her! But
it does not mean that!
God’s glory is greater than that! God is Spirit and does not beget as a man begets! But that does not keep God from calling Jesus His Son! We have already illustrated it like this: If I go outside the country, and folks call me “a son of Botswana,” that does not mean that Botswana took a wife and had a son! No, I am called “a son of Botswana” because Botswana is where I come from. That is how it was with Jesus, the Messiah, who was born of a virgin.
Even before He was born,
He was in heaven. Only Jesus is worthy to be called the Son of the Most High, because He alone is the Word that was with God in the beginning. This is a great mystery, but more than that, it is a great truth! God sent His Son into the world not only to save us from our sins, but also to show us what He is like! Jesus displayed God’s character on earth. Whoever sees the Son knows what the Father is like. Whoever sees Jesus knows what God is like. Jesus is called the Son of God, because He came from God, because He is like God, and because He is the very Word of God, truly God. Dear friends, whether we believe it or whether we refuse to believe it, the truth remains:
Jesus is the Son of the Living God!
Let us now continue in the Gospel of Matthew and see what happened after Peter declared Jesus to be the Messiah, the Son of the Living God. The Scripture says: (Matt. 16:21-23) “From that time forth began Jesus to show unto his disciples, how he must go unto Jerusalem,
and suffer many things
from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, lord; this shall not be unto thee. But he turned and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan. Thou art an offence unto me; you do not have in mind the things that are of God, but those that are of men”.
He told them that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that He must be killed and then be raised to life again
on the third day.
Thus Jesus announced that He would pour out His blood to pay the debt for our sin.
But Peter could not accept that the Lord Jesus, who possessed all power and all authority, would allow the evil rulers of the Jews to arrest Him, torture Him and kill Him. That was why Peter said to Jesus, “Never, Lord! This shall never happen to you!” However Jesus knew that
as a sacrifice that takes away sin. That is the reason He said to Peter, “Get thee behind me, Satan. Thou art an offence unto me; for you do not have in mind the things that are of God, but those that are of men”.
Jesus knew why
He had come into the world. He came to give His life by shedding His holy blood for sinners, just as God’s prophets had predicted long beforehand. Jesus came so that what the sacrificial sheep meant might be fulfilled in Him. Ah, dear student, if we remember only one thing from our lesson, let it be this: Jesus the Messiah came into the world to die as a sacrifice to pay for sin–my sin and yours! God willing, a few lessons from now, we will see how Jesus’ prophecy about His own death was precisely fulfilled
And so friends, even though some may proclaim another message which does not agree with what the Lord Jesus and the prophets prophesied so long ago, the truth concerning Jesus’ death and resurrection does not change. God Himself is the One who decreed the death of the Messiah on the cross, and no one can change the decrees of God! Jesus chose to die as the supreme Sacrifice. He did it because
Now let us see what happened one week after Jesus made known to His disciples that He would offer up His life in Jerusalem. The Scripture says: (Matthew 17:1,2) “And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John, his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain privately, and was transfigured before them; and his face did shine like the sun, and his raiment was as white as the light”.
(Luke 9:30-31) “And, behold, there talked with him two men, who were Moses and Elijah. Who appeared in glory, and spoke of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem” (Matt. 17:4-9) “Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here; if thou wilt, let us make here three booths; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah. While he yet spoke, behold,
a bright cloud overshadowed them;
and, behold, a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were very much afraid. And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, be not afraid. And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, except Jesus only. And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be raised again from the dead”.
Did you grasp what happened on that high mountain? It was an amazing and wonderful event! We read that Jesus’ outward appearance was transformed—His face shone like the sun and His clothes radiated a sparkling white light. The same awesome, dazzling pure light that shines out of God and surrounds the throne of God in heaven was now shining out of Jesus! The glorious light that filled the holiest place in the Tent of the Meeting in the days when Moses and the Israelites were in the wilderness—that same glory was in Jesus,
though men could not see it.
But for a few brief moments, in the presence of Jesus’ three disciples, God unveiled His awesome glory which was hidden in Jesus’ body! And at the same moment, God sent down from heaven two prophets, Moses and Elijah, to talk with Jesus concerning His death in Jerusalem. We also read that a bright cloud covered the mountain, and the voice of the Almighty echoed forth from the cloud, saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him”
Why did God do all these glorious things in the presence of Peter, John and James? This is the reason. God wanted to give those three witnesses an unshakeable proof that, in truth, Jesus is the Eternal Son of God from heaven, and that
all must listen to Him!
That is what the Scripture proclaims, saying: “He who does not honour the Son does not honour the Father, who sent him.” (John 5:23) “God, who at sundry times and in various ways spoke in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; 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 on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Heb. 1:1-3)
Friend, what do you think of Jesus?
Do you believe that Jesus is the Lord of Glory, who came from heaven? Or do you merely classify Him with the prophets as most people in the world do? Before we close our study, let us read some excerpts from Jesus’ apostles,
Peter and John,
who wrote in the Holy Scriptures several years after they saw the glory of God shine out of Jesus on top of the mountain.
The apostle Peter wrote: “For we have not followed cunningly devised fables when we made known unto you the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 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. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount” (2 Peter 1:16-18)
The apostle John wrote: “That which was
from the beginning,
which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life. For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life; which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us … and we beheld his glory,
the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,
full of grace and truth” (1 John 1:1,2; John 1:14) And in the end of the Gospel of John, he wrote, “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written, that ye might believe that
Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God;
and that by believing ye might have life through his name” (John 20:30,31).
God wants to give you insight into these marvellous truths. The Scripture says: “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned … However we speak wisdom among them that are perfect; yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the princes of this age, that come to nothing; but we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom,
which God ordained before the ages unto our glory;
which none of the princes of this age knew; for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory” (1 Cor. 2:14,6-8) Amen.
May the Lord bless you as you think about what Almighty God declared on top of the mountain concerning the Lord Jesus, when He said,
“This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him” (Matthew 17:5)
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