This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him! Matthew 17:5 NIV84
These words were spoken by God at the time Jesus was transfigured in the sight of three of his disciples.
Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. Matthew 17:1-3 NIV84
The ever outspoken Peter reacted to the scene the way a lot of us react when something wonderful happens. He wanted to freeze this moment in time.
Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”
While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud [spoke]. Matthew 17:4-5 NIV84
Peter wanted to preserve the experience and be able to come back and do it over and over, the way television news runs video clips over and over ad nauseam.
- Why did God not want the disciples, Jesus and the two heavenly visitors to remain locked in place, frozen in time, on the mountaintop?
- When God spoke the words of today’s focus verse, he interrupted Peter and shut down his project. Why? According to God’s words, what was God’s real purpose for this experience?
- Can you state God’s purpose in three short words?
- Why did gospel writers include this story when they wrote about Jesus? The gospels are very brief, and John says that the world could not even contain all the books that could be written about Jesus. Why did Matthew, Mark and Luke include the full story?
- It is safe to say that John’s gospel is shaped by the experience of the transfiguration. If Matthew, Mark and Luke told the story correctly, and if John’s gospel is intended to show readers what the transfiguration was really about, how would you explain the transfiguration to a new Christian? To someone who doubts that in Christ, God was fully present?
- In a world that rejects the spiritual dimension, except for spirituality that worships self, how do you explain what happened during the transfiguration? What do you think God said in that story to people who completely doubt anything they cannot touch and measure?