Reading through the Bible together

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

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This chapter gives us some deeper insights into Jesus’ ministry.  One day, late in the evening, Jesus asked Peter, James, and John to follow Him up a mountain.  When they got there, Jesus stepped aside, prayed, and then appeared to them in His former glory.  His face shone as the sun, and His robe was as brilliant as light.  Jesus gave His disciples a glimpse of His divinity to strengthen them in their trials and ministry.

In addition, they see Moses and Elijah standing there talking to Jesus.  We know that Christ had raised Moses from the dead and taken him to heaven over a thousand years ago (Jude 9), and that Elijah had been translated and taken there on a flaming chariot hundreds of years before (2 Kings 2:11,12). By seeing Moses and Elijah alive, the disciples were given a visual representation of the certainty of life everlasting.  Moses represented those who would be resurrected at Christ’s second coming and Elijah those who would be translated.  While on earth, Moses and Elijah had been co-laborers with Christ, and when taken to heaven, they continued to share His longing for souls.  Now they had come, not to announce His reign as King of kings, but to encourage and comfort Him, because before the crown must come the cross. Then the disciples heard the Father say, “This is My beloved Son, listen to Him.”

In the other part of this chapter we see the disciples at the bottom of the mountain trying unsuccessfully to heal a boy of devil-possession.  When Jesus and the three disciples came down, the father of the boy pleaded with Jesus to heal his young son, which Jesus easily did.  What draws our attention in this section of the chapter is when the disciples asked Jesus why they couldn’t cast out the demon.  Jesus explained that it was not only because of their lack of faith, but the carelessness with which they regarded the sacred work committed to them. Instead of strengthening their faith by prayer, while Jesus and the three fellow disciples were on the mountain, they were filled with jealousy, dwelling on their personal grievances.  In order to succeed in the conflict with evil spirits, they must come to the work in a different spirit.  Their faith must be strengthened by prayer, fasting, and humiliation of heart.  They must be emptied of self and be totally dependent on God (DA pp. 431).

Jack J. Blanco, Th.D.

Professor Emeritus

Southern Adventist University