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Welcome to Refinery Life Australia.

This week we start a new series titled “Personal portraits of Peter”.

These messages will contain lessons that can help each of us daily.

Today we are talking about Peter on the Mount of Transfiguration.

Text

Matthew 17:5 (AMP)

5 While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased and delighted! Listen to Him!”

Scripture Reading.

Luke 9:28-36 and then the parallel passages of Matthew 17:1-8 and Mark 9:2-8.

Introduction 

Jesus’ experience with His disciples at Caesarea Philippi marked a distinct turning point in His ministry.

He was obviously pleased with Peter’s confession of faith in Him as the Christ, the Son of the living God in Matthew 16:16.

How utterly impossible it was for Peter and the other disciples to consider death And suffering for the miracle working Messiah.

Not being able to take Jesus’ prophecy of death literally, they were puzzled rather than helped by His prophecy of resurrection.

Matthew 16:22 (AMP)

22 Peter took Him aside [to speak to Him privately] and began to reprimand Him, saying, “May God forbid it! This will never happen to You.”

At Jesus’ baptism, He had dedicated Himself to a ministry that would culminate in His death and resurrection.

Remember the symbolism of baptism is death and resurrection.

In this the Father was well pleased. The voice from heaven said in Matthew 3:17 (AMP)

17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased and delighted!”

In the temptations in the wilderness, satan sought to persuade Jesus to take another way, have a look at Matthew 4:1-11, and Luke 4:1-13.

Luke 4:13 (AMP) says,

13 When the devil had finished every temptation, he [temporarily] left Him until a more opportune time.

Peter unwittingly became the devil’s mouthpiece to renew the temptation.

But Jesus turned and said to Peter in Matthew 16:23 (AMP)

23 But Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on things of God, but on things of man.”

Peter was no more actually satan than he had earlier been an actual rock.

The disciples must have been further confused by Jesus’ paradox about saving life by losing it in Matthew 16:24-25 (AMP)

Discipleship Is Costly

24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to follow Me [as My disciple], he must deny himself [set aside selfish interests], and take up his cross [expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come] and follow Me [believing in Me, conforming to My example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Me]. 

25 For whoever wishes to save his life [in this world] will [eventually] lose it [through death], but whoever loses his life [in this world] for My sake will find it [that is, life with Me for all eternity].

And by His statement in Matthew 16:27 (AMP)

27 For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory and majesty of His Father with His angels, and then He will repay each one in accordance with what he has done.

How could Jesus talk of His return in glory as the final judge and of death at the same time?

The transfiguration was God’s answer to their confusion.

Each of the accounts in the gospels bears its own unique witness.

  1. The transfiguration assured the disciples that Jesus was different than them.

Mark 9:2 (AMP)

2 Six days later, Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John, and led them up on a high mountain by themselves. And He was transfigured (changed in form) before them [and began to shine brightly with divine and regal glory];

Luke gave the time as “about eight days after these sayings.” 

He also noted that it was “as he prayed” in Luke 9:28-29 that Jesus’ countenance was altered and His clothing became white and dazzling.

No one knows enough about the person of Jesus to know what the transfiguration meant to Him.

As the temptations to avoid the cross were real, surely the assurance of the transfiguration must have meant a lot to Him.

2. The transfiguration affirmed that the death of Jesus fulfilled the law and the Prophets.

Luke 9:30-31 (AMP)

30 And behold, two men were talking with Him; and they were Moses and Elijah, 

31 who appeared in glory, and were speaking of His departure [from earthly life], which He was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem.   

Moses was the representative of the Law, Elijah was the representative of the prophets.

They were speaking with Jesus about His coming death at Jerusalem.

Elijah’s presence affirmed “In Your death and resurrection You are fulfilling all that the prophets said.”

Moses’ presence likewise attested, “In Your death and resurrection You are doing what the law demands.”

Paul also witnessed that the Law and the Prophets are fulfilled in Jesus, as for example, Romans 10:4 and Galatians 3:21-29.

Peter did not understand it all at this time, but the Holy Spirit would interpret the experience for him.

On the day of Pentecost, his sermon would clearly expand this theme, as would his epistles later on.

Have a read of 1 Peter 1:10-12 (AMP)

10 Regarding this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace [of God] that was intended for you, searched carefully and inquired [about this future way of salvation], 

11 seeking to find out what person or what time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He foretold the sufferings of Christ and the glories [destined] to follow. 

12 It was revealed to them that their services [their prophecies regarding grace] were not [meant] for themselves and their time, but for you, in these things [the death, resurrection, and glorification of Jesus Christ] which have now been told to you by those who preached the gospel to you by the [power of the] Holy Spirit [who was] sent from heaven. Into these things even the angels long to look.

3. The transfiguration assured the disciples concerning life after death.

Deuteronomy 34:5-6 (AMP)

5 So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord. 

6 And He buried him in the valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth-peor; but no man knows where his burial place is to this day. 

According to the account in 2 Kings 2, Elijah did not die, he was translated.

2 Kings 2:11 (AMP)

11 As they continued along and talked, behold, a chariot of fire with horses of fire [appeared suddenly and] separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind.

Moses represented all the redeemed who had died or would die, whether the place of their burial is known or not.

Elijah represented all who had been or would be translated without seeing death, as the redeemed living on earth when Jesus returns at the end of the age.

Both men are with Jesus in glory now, both are talking to Him, both are interested in what He is doing.

Peter, James, and John did not need to be introduced to Moses and Elijah.

They knew them intuitively.

Their bodies probably were fashioned like our Lord’s glorious body after His resurrection.

4. Peter’s foolish proposal.

Luke 9:33 Amplified Bible (AMP)

33 And as these [men, Moses and Elijah] were leaving Him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is delightful and good for us to be here; we should make three [sacred] tents; one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah”—not realizing what he was saying.

Two objections to Peter’s suggestion are evident.

First, disciples cannot always be in worship on the mountain top.

There is work to be done in the valley.

Second, and more important, Jesus is not to be equated with Moses and Elijah.

Jesus is unique.

He is the only begotten Son of God.

He is not a prophet but the prophet.

By the same token, Christianity is not to be thought of as one of the world’s great religions.

It is the true religion by which all others are to be tested.

5. The Father bore testimony to Jesus, His Sonship, His Messiahship, His authority.

The presence of God was manifested in the Shekinah cloud of glory, the cloud that had led the children of Israel I the wilderness.

The voice from the Father spoke the same words as He had spoken at Jesus’ baptism, Matthew 17:5 (AMP)

5 While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased and delighted! Listen to Him!”

Hear Jesus as the fulfiller of the law, the greatest of God’s messengers, the Suffering Servant, The Saviour of the world, the final Judge, the Way, the Truth, the Life.

Hear Him as He interprets His death and as He calls to salvation.

Conclusion.

The disciples fell on their faces in reverence.

They arose at Jesus’ touch and heard Him say, “Arise, and be not afraid.”

Matthew 17:8 (AMP) says,

8 And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus Himself alone.

Moses and Elijah were gone, their work fulfilled in Jesus.

He alone abides.

Let us not be afraid of life nor death, for Jesus is the Lord of both.

Let us hear Him, for all truth is fulfilled in Him.

Until next time

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I really want to encourage you to be diligent with your Bible study time, because God has so much more for us than we can get from just going to church once or twice a week and hearing someone else talk about the Word.

When you spend time with God, your life will change in amazing ways, because God is a Redeemer.

Theres nothing thats too hard for Him, and He can make you whole, spirit, soul and body!

You’re important to God, and you’re important to us at www.refinerylife.org

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