October 7, 2013

Scripture and Commentary, Tuesday after the Nineteenth Sunday after Trinity

Morning – Psalm 90, 1 Kings 22:1-12, James 5:12
Evening – Psalm 104, Job 38:1-18, Mt. 17:1-13

Commentary, Matthew 17:1-13

Six days after Peter’s statement about Christ, our Lord leads him, along with James and John to the top of a high mountain.  There the veil of flesh is partly removed, and they are allowed to see the Lord “transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.”

It is worth noting that the transfiguration revealed a small part of Christ’s own glory.  As the sun gives light, rather than reflects it, Christ’s glory shone from His face and raiment. The significance is that the One standing before the three men is the source of glory and power, not a reflection or apparition of it.

Moses and Elijah confirm this.  There to honour Him as God, Moses, the great lawgiver, and Elijah the first of the great prophets of Israel, are symbolic of the Law and the Prophets.  What are they doing on the mount?  They are talking with Jesus, talking about “his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem” (Lk.9:31).  They spoke with Christ about what the Law and the Prophets could never do, but what they pointed to and waited for, the atonement for sin.  Their presence signifies their inferiority to Christ.  They represent the Law and the Prophets, which testify of Him.  He is come to fulfill the Law and the Prophets by His death and resurrection.

The confusion of the disciples is reasonable under the circumstances.  They thought they were honouring Christ with Peter’s offer to build three tabernacles.  In reality they were giving Moses and Elijah equality with Christ.  Thus the voice from Heaven in verse 5 identifies Jesus as far, far above even Moses and Elijah.  They were great gifts of God to humanity.  Through the Law comes the knowledge of God’s will, and the knowledge of our sin.  Through the prophets comes the hope of a redeemer, a “Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world.”  Yet, they are mere men.  Christ is the Law Maker.  He is the Redeemer. He is the Son of God.  This revelation is followed by a commandment, “hear ye him.”  As you have sought the law and prophets for the ways of God and the guide for life and salvation, now “hear ye him.”

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