“And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only.” Matthew 17:8.
It was a particular busy time in the life of Peter, James and John. In the previous weeks, they had travelled many dangerous miles, witnessed more than a few miraculous events, ministered to crowds of thousands and had learned some very hard lessons. Now as they trudged up yet another high mountain in this harsh wilderness, I wonder what thoughts might have consumed their attention…
Where is the Master taking us today? Why didn’t the other disciples come with us? Is this what Jesus meant when He said, “Follow Me”? I didn’t sign up for this! Did anyone pack a lunch? How much further before we reach the top? Hey, is there somewhere to get a drink because I’m getting a bit thirsty? What did Jesus mean the other day when He said, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” I wonder if we will get back before dark? Watch out! Don’t step in that! How am I going to pay for a new pair of sandals now that these are just about worn out? I hope the view from the top is worth it!
Although the Bible remains mostly silent on what these disciples might have been thinking, with a bit of “sanctified imagination” you can easily envision it. They probably had the same cares and considerations that any of us would have had. One thing is clear; when this group reached the summit, a glorious change took place.
In an instant, every worry, worldly concern and idle notion fled as the Man who had led them up the mountain revealed His eternal majesty to them. The Bible tells us, “His face did shine as the sun, and His raiment was white as the light.” Matthew 17:2. This same Jesus who had climbed the alpine trail earlier that day, and who had probably stopped a few times along the way to catch His breath, suddenly revealed His unveiled deity to them.
One can only imagine what it might have been like when these three looked on and saw Moses (Representing the Law) and Elijah (Representing the Prophets) communing with the transfigured Christ. Later, John would likely reference this when he wrote in his gospel account, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” John 1:14. Oh, the overwhelming fear that must have gripped their hearts when the heavenly cloud enveloped them and the voice of God the Father spoke, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him.” Matthew 17:5. These awestruck disciples fell on their faces and would have remained there had it not been that, “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 Jesus only.” Matthew 17:8.
Post by: Jack Caron, NBBI Faculty, Missions Director