Friday, February 11, 2011

Follow the Leader

Six days after Peter’s confession acknowledged Christ as the Son of God and Jesus announced His suffering, death, and resurrection, we find Him leading three of His disciples up on a high mountain. Peter, James, and John were the foundational leaders of the church who had a close relationship with Christ. They were within His inner circle chosen to bear a record of His glory on earth. The name and location of the mountain is unknown. “High mountain” symbolized a place of divine revelation. The “six days” are reminiscent of Moses on Mount Sinai and his experience with the glory of the Lord (see Exodus 24:16).

Once they arrived, Christ transfigured before them. It was unlike any miracle He had ever performed. He was an appearance of His glorious body. And His raiment was now shining and exceedingly white as snow, beyond the imagination and skill of mankind toward whitening it.

Also appearing on the high mountain were Elias and Moses. Elias was taken up into heaven by God and represented the Prophetic Word at this appearance. The Jewish people also believe Moses was received by God who buried him before they crossed over to the Jordan River. Moses represented the Law at this appearance. Both Elias and Moses were talking with the transfigured Christ in acknowledgment of His superiority. They were not attempting to teach Christ nor pride a factor. Jesus Christ was the exalted one.

The disciples were dumbfounded at this glorious experience they were allowed to witness. When Peter found words he spoke for the rest of the disciples as to how good it was to be in the presence of Jesus. He wanted to stay and make three tabernacles: one for Jesus, one for Elias, and one for Moses. He was ready to freeze this glorious experience even though Jesus needed to continue His mission. Peter had already forgotten that Christ had begun to teach the disciples that He soon must suffer, die, and rise in three (3) days. The disciples did not understand His teachings nor what they had seen for they were so afraid.

A cloud then appeared, as it did when Moses was on Mount Sinai. The cloud represents the presence of God. The voice of God interrupted the disciples, praised Jesus as His beloved Son, and commanded the disciples to hear Christ. Suddenly the cloud disappeared and Jesus remained with the disciples. He was no longer transfigured. Elias and Moses were gone. Their disappearance represented the fact that the Law and the Prophets had been fulfilled in Christ.

As the disciples descended the mountain, Jesus told them not to tell anyone about the Transfiguration experience until after His death and resurrection. It must be kept secret to prevent their boasting as He must fulfill His mission.

The disciples questioned among themselves the meaning of rising from the dead. Why would anyone kill Christ? Did not the scribes say that Elias must come first? They were totally confused.

Jesus explained that the prophecy as to Elias was to expect a person who had the spirit and power of Elias. Christ explained the forerunner had already come. The prophecy had been fulfilled in John the Baptist who had restored all things, had been arrested, and executed (Malachi 4: 5-6; Luke 1: 13, 17). Christ explained that He must suffer, die, and rise in three (3) days. The disciples failed to understand the meaning of the resurrection, however, until after His death and Resurrection (Luke 24: 21, 45-46).

Written by Deborah Davis

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