For May 9, 2021
In Matthew 17:1-9, the Lord takes Peter, James, and John up a mountain where He was “transfigured” or transformed before them. Jesus’ face and clothing turned bright as the sun, and Moses and Elijah appeared suddenly; talking to Him about what would happen at Jerusalem shortly thereafter.
Out of fear and at a loss for words, Peter offers to build three temporary dwellings for the Lord and His two esteemed guests: Moses and Elijah. While Peter was yet speaking, a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice thundered: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Listen to Him!” (v. 5).
At first glance, one could almost miss God’s command: “Listen to Him!” But those words capture the essence of the Lord’s earthly ministry as this writer observes,
Whether he realized it or not, Peter was ostensibly putting Jesus on the same plane with these Old Testament servants of God (“one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah”). That will not do. God spoke in the past to the fathers through the prophets, but now He has spoken through a Son. The difference must be understood and respected. Jesus is a prophet but more than a prophet.1
Jesus Christ is more than a “good” man, prophet, religious leader, or teacher, and God’s command to listen to Jesus not only points to His deity as the God’s Son. It also implies emphatically that our Lord’s words are greater than Moses the Lawgiver, and Elijah the Prophet.
No other person in history received the accolades our Lord Jesus Christ receives here. This declaration was unheard of, given how God spoke to Moses “face to face” as He would towards a friend (Exodus 33:11, Numbers 12:8), and how Elijah is still considered the quintessential prophet of God (1 Kings 17:24, Luke 1:17).
Yet in retrospect, it is comforting to know that God’s thundering declaration did not distract the Lord Jesus Christ from His mission to save the world from sin by way of His death at Calvary.
He was the only person—past, present, or future—uniquely suited to accomplish that mission. Thus, without pride, selfishness, or the quest for celebrity status, He retains His humble demeanor as He continues His redemptive work, which speaks volumes about His impeccable character in the absence of personal, ulterior motives.
Now as a result, by faith in Him, we can know and experience God personally, intimately, and eternally. His powerful words can impart abundant life into our spiritually dead bodies now and forever, just as He promised,
It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life (John 6:63 NKJV).
Moreover, Jesus taught that He did not come to destroy the Mosaic Law or invalidate Elijah and the prophets. Instead, He came to fulfill that which the Law and Prophets declared. (Matthew 5:17) In this way, He always affirmed the importance of those who preceded Him.
We can trust in the words of Jesus Christ because the voice of God heard here affirms His pre-incarnate deity. Jesus spoke as did no other person—living or dead. Of the relevance, and importance of His sayings, Jesus also declares,
Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall (Matthew 7:24-27 NKJV).
Jesus Christ’s words are true, steadfast, and relevant for today’s ever-changing world. We cannot go wrong when we listen to Him and obey Him. Won’t you listen to Him today?
What a Wonderful Savior!