A GLIMPSE OF GLORY
Lord, I await the day when I shall see Your glory in its fullness.
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)
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“Fair is the sunshine, / fairer still the moonlight, / and all the twinkling starry host; / Jesus shines brighter, / Jesus shines purer, / than all the angels heaven can boast!” (“Fairest Lord Jesus,” Author Unknown).
Moses and Elijah stand alongside Jesus on the mountain: two great Old Testament figures furthering Matthew’s aim to link Jesus with the ultimate expectation of the Old Testament. However, it is a link with sparkling freshness. Moses had been “face to face” with God and his face shone when he returned from Mount Sinai, having received the ten commandments. This old covenant, Paul tells us, “came with glory,” but it was the shadow of a temporary glory. Paul’s point is that Jesus shines brighter. Indeed, Moses is not in the same league with the Master.
Here, Matthew draws back the veil, allowing us to witness the true glory of Jesus. Peter’s intervention (4) displays his limited understanding, but it also demonstrates that one greater than Moses is here. This is no passing glory: this glory inheres in Jesus—the unique Son, loved by God, pleasing to his Father in every way; the one to whom we must listen (5). Elijah, whose spiritual successor is John the Baptist (Luke 1:17), signals that the time is here. The messiah has come and will suffer. That also displays Jesus’ glory.
When the disciples look up and see that no one except Jesus is left (8), a similar lesson appears: no one stands alongside him in status. This is one of the “I wish I had been there” moments. That would have been spectacular!
Wait a moment. What does Paul say? That we believers witness the Lord’s glory without any encumbrance. We see the Lord’s glory as we contemplate his cross, resurrection, and ascension. We see his true glory as we fix our eyes on him, and a remarkable transformation takes place. It’s not that our faces shine. Our characters are molded to be made like him as we look on him without fear.
Transformation through contemplation. What will it mean for you today to fix your eyes on Jesus?
Shine, Jesus, shine until the entire earth can see Your power and majesty.