Transfiguration Through the Word of God

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 by themselves. [2] And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. [3] And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. [4] And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” [5] He was still speaking when, behold, 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 terrified. [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.” (ESV)

2 Peter 1:16–21

[16] For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. [17] For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” [18] we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. [19] And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, [20] knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. [21] For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (ESV)

Peter was a man who heard God speak from heaven on the Mount of Transfiguration but here in this passage from his second epistle he urges us to pay attention to God’s Word.

Peter was one of three disciples that Jesus invited up to the Mount of Transfiguration. While they are up there Jesus is transfigured. The word that is used in the Greek text is our word for metamorphosis.

Jesus’s face shown like the sun and his clothes became white as light. Moses and Elijah, representing the Old Testament, appeared.

Peter loved it. He wanted to stay there. He offered to build three shelters. Why he thought Jesus, Moses and Elijah needed shelters is anyone’s guess.

What happened next knocked Peter and the other disciples to their feet. A cloud enveloped them and a voice came out of the cloud. The voice said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”

Then it is all over, seemingly very quickly. While Peter, James and John are still cowering on the ground, Jesus comes over and touches them and says, “Rise and have no fear.” Jesus is the only one left with the disciples on the mountain. As they are descending Jesus tells them not to tell anyone about this until after he has risen from the dead.

As it says in his epistle, this was not some cleverly designed myth. This really happened. Peter, James and John were eyewitnesses of Jesus’ majesty. They heard the voice from heaven and it knocked them to the ground.

Peter had also witnessed many of Jesus’ miracles. He was also a witness of the resurrection.

So one might think that he would then want us to experience that as well but he doesn’t. Instead, he urges us to pay attention to Scripture: “And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts” (verse 19)

Then Peter explains the source of the prophetic word: “Knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (verses 20-21)

Scripture is not God speaking directly from heaven as on the Mount of Transfiguration. Scripture is men speaking from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

We call this the doctrine of inspiration. The Bible is not just an ordinary human book because it was inspired by God.

The Apostle John explains “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (John 20:30-31, ESV)

And this is how the Apostle Paul puts it: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17, ESV)

In Exodus 24 we are told that Moses, the author of the first five books of the Bible, spends 40 days and 40 nights up on the mountain with God. No doubt while he was up there God was inspiring him to write those first five books of the Bible.

What makes the Bible so unique is that it tells us how Jesus, that man glowing like the sun on the Mount of Transfiguration is the same one who went to the cross to die for our sins.

Just as Jesus was transfigured on the mountain, the Word of God can transform our lives.

There are many clever myths out there that are fascinating to read. God wants us to read and pay attention to his Word.

Conclusion. I think it would be great to hear God’s voice from heaven. But Peter, one who did hear God’s voice from heaven, would rather have us pay attention to the inspired Word of God in the Bible.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s