Today’s Scrip-Bit 7 February 2016 Matthew 17:5

Matthew 17:5.  While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye (listen) to him.  

Well Friends, it’s Sunday once again; time for us to gather in the Lord’s sanctuary and worship and praise Him with joyful voices. Hope you are either there now, have gone already, like me, or are preparing to go at some time in the day. Remember it’s where we get our weekly anointing to be able to carry out our godly duties in the ungodly world in which we now live.

Ah mih people, I certainly enjoyed the church service at my Tobago St. Francis church. Not that I don’t enjoy and appreciate the one at my Canadian St. Francis, but this one has more of a West Indian flavour, where you are a little more involved. There’s no organist or choir, that means most of it is left up to the congregation to get involved…

And do they get involved! You have to, otherwise the service will fall flat on its face. And you should hear the ole fella singing hymns and shaking his tambourine, having read the first lesson, like I usually do back in Canada, at the early morning service.

Now today is Transfiguration Sunday. Jesus was about to set off for Jerusalem to fulfill His mission, and this was a sort of reinvigoration, a strengthening of His sense of purpose. Jesus took Peter, James and John (his top men) up a high mountain. ‘And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment (clothes) was white as the light.

And behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elijah talking with him. Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’ (Matt.17:2-4)

Yeh Friends, it’s obvious that the disciples did not understand what was really going on, and Mark tells us that Peter was only talking because he was so afraid, he did not know what else to say (Mark 9:6)

But as our Bit states: ‘While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye (listen) to him.

And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid. And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man save (except) Jesus.’ (Matt.17:5-8)

Can you imagine the confusion and fear between the three men? One moment they see their teacher’s face and clothes change; the first glistens like the sun and the second is white as snow.

Then two long dead prophets appear from nowhere and begin conversing with their teacher. Then they are covered by a cloud and hear a voice coming from the sky, then the next there’s just Jesus alone. It’s enough to drive one crazy.

But right now, let’s get some info from the scholars on the situation. ’17:1-9. See Mark 9:2-13; Luke 9:28-36. Peter, James and John represent the “inner circle” of leadership among the disciples (cf. Luke 8:51; Matt.26:37) and serve here as ample witnesses according to Mosaic Law.

They went into a high mountain apart, meaning privately, by themselves. Tradition claims that this took place at Mount Tabor, but a more probable location would be Mount Hermon, near Caesarea Philippi.

Jesus was transfigured before them. The verb (Gr. metamorphoo) indicates a transformation of essential form, proceeding from within, but the transformation is outwardly visible. See Romans 12:2 and 2 Corinthians 3:18, where it is used of the spiritual transformation of the believer’s new nature. The witness of Peter in 2 Peter 1:17-18 verifies the testimony that this was a real experience not a vision.’

So friends, it’s clear that the transfiguration scene was not a mere vision, but reality. And I like how Mark describes it: ‘And his raiment (clothes) became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth (no launderer) can white (whiten) them.’ (Mark 9:3) You can imagine how white Jesus’ clothes must have been then!

I also like how Luke puts in his description of Moses and Elijah: ‘Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease (death) which he should (was about to) accomplish at Jerusalem.’ (Luke 9:31)

And the scholars tell us: ‘9:31. If Jesus is being reminded of His impending death, He will also have been assured of His promised resurrection. (Mark 9:9).’ And as the scholars also point out: ‘Luke 9:35. Compare the voice at Jesus’ baptism (3:22). There, however, God speaks to Jesus; here the message is to the disciples.And what is the crux of the message my fellow believers? ‘Hear, listen to Him!’

Oh friends, that’s the same message we are still getting today: Listen to Jesus! But not sufficient of us are listening to it, much less taking it to heart and seriously practicing it. That’s a large part of why our world is so evil and ungodly.

We need true believers to stand up strong, to listen and put the Word into action so that the heathen, the unbeliever will see how we live and behave, how we’re blessed by our great and bountiful God and will thus want to turn away from their sinful attitudes and embrace Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour too.

Oh friends, we are supposed to be the modern day disciples, following in Jesus’ footsteps, bringing others to Him through our example. Unfortunately, though, our examples are either not good enough or plenty enough, because the heathen isn’t coming to Jesus as he should. In many cases he is turning away from Jesus because of our hypocritical examples.

Anyway my brethren, I can only try to encourage us to do better, the rest is left up to each individual, and we’ll each have to answer to the judge on our individual behaviour.

Now listen to Peter. ‘For we have not followed cunningly devised fables. When we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.’ (2 Peter 1:16) So Peter is claiming that he was actually there at the transfiguration of Christ.

And the scholars explain that verse thus. ‘1:16. In Matthew 17 Jesus was temporarily glorified in the presence of three disciples. This was a foreshadowing of Christ’s coming in power and glory to establish His kingdom. The presence of Moses and Elijah on the mountain represented all those who enter the kingdom by death or translation.

The declaration of the Father reinforces Christ’s dominion over His kingdom. Application: Since Christians live expectantly looking forward to the return of Christ, they ought to give Him first place in their lives today, just as He will have in the kingdom.’

Yes my people, the scholars hit the nail on the head; it’s time truly give Jesus first place in our lives. That’s truly wisdom at its highest! Much LOVE!

…oh…if we all could be transfigured today…like Jesus was back then…what an awakening the world would witness…


 
 

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