A GLIMPSE OF FUTURE GLORY
Father God, you called me into being through your Spirit. I call on you today, confident that you listen and respond.
Read MATTHEW 17:1-13
17 After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. 3 Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.
4 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.”
5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”
6 When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. 7 But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” 8 When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.
9 As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”
10 The disciples asked him, “Why then do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?”
11 Jesus replied, “To be sure, Elijah comes and will restore all things. 12 But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.” 13 Then the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
How do you see the connection between suffering and glory in God’s plan for your life?
For the disciples, this must have been a week of turmoil and bewilderment. Jesus had told them plainly that he would suffer, be killed, and be raised to life – and had firmly rebuked Peter, telling of the sacrifices needed to be his disciple.1 Now he takes three of them and is dazzlingly transformed before their eyes. What are they to make of all this? No wonder Peter speaks in an embarrassed way (v 4) and then they fall to the ground in terror as God’s voice is heard (with precisely the same words as at Jesus’ baptism2)! How are they to understand what is going on, let alone what it all means for them?
We’ve had predictions of rejection in chapter 16. Now we have a vision of future glory and victory, perhaps giving a link between self- sacrifice and triumph in God’s purposes, a Lord who both reigns and yet suffers. Perhaps God’s confirmation here is even more significant than at Jesus’ baptism, as the notion of a suffering Messiah seemed so incongruous. Here God adds the words ‘Listen to him!’ We read ‘when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only’ (v 8, ESV), the word ‘only’ coming at the end of the sentence for emphasis. The disciples must focus on Christ alone. He will prove sufficient for all their needs.
Suffering and glory. God does give his followers foretastes of glory from time to time. We should pray for such encouragements and be grateful for such foretastes. They often prove important sustenance during difficult times – but they will not do away with such times altogether. Peter reminds us that as we rejoice that we are shielded by God’s power, now we may have to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.3 It was true for Jesus and for his followers.
Pray that God will enable you to look to him and future glory when you go through trials and suffering.
Dear Lord, at times I do not handle hardship and difficulty very well. Remind me again that glory is awaiting in the future!
1 Matt 16:21–23 2 Matt 3:17 3 1 Pet 1:5,6
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