A Glimpse of Future Glory (Matthew 17:1-13)

Speaker: Rev. Jon Herr
Date: 2/26/2017
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Type: Sunday Sermon
Organization: All Saints
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A Glimpse of Future Glory (Matthew 17:1-13)

The Mountain:
Jesus takes Peter, James, and John with Him up a mountain. Some believe this to be Mount Tabor in Galilee near Nazarath. Others think it is Mount Hermon, the tallest mountain in Israel and in the north. More recently, commentators seem to think it is Mount Meron. These are fun questions, but is it perhaps more telling that Matthew doesn't tell us? For an author who tells us the names of cities and places Jesus goes, it is striking that no name is given. Could he perhaps be pointing at something different?

The Men:
Jesus and His companions meet Moses and Elijah on the mountain. Why these two? Some have said they represent that Law and the Prophets. Some have pointed out that they both met God on Mount Sinai (Exodus 24; 1 Kings 19). However, there are other, perhaps more robustly biblical options. Consider the connection Jesus draws in verse 11. If Elijah prefigures John the Baptist, Moses must have an analog.

The Mist:
A cloud covers the mountain, but not just any mist. This one is bright and shining. Out of the mist comes the voice of the Father: "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him." (17:5) This is certainly a picture of the Shekinah ("that which dwells") glory of God, showing His nearness. Jesus "transfigures" or "metamorphosizes" in their sight, giving a glimpse of the heavenly glory of Christ which He would gain permanently in the Resurrection.

The Message:
This event is sandwiched between repeated accounts of misapprehension of the messianic character of Jesus' ministry by the disciples, and Peter in particular. Peter and, no doubt, many others were temped to see the messiah-ship of Christ as revolutionary; that He would lead a military cavalcade on the Romans and rule from Jerusalem. But he thought this in the face of Jesus' clear foretelling of what He was actually here to do (16:21). In the Transfiguration, Christ connects the Past to the Present, giving the disciples hope in the Future

Jon Herr Jon Herr (MATS, Reformed Theological Seminary; BS Bible, Philadelphia Biblical University) is Pastor of Christ Covenant Church of Chicago (CREC). Previously he served as a deacon and ministerial student at All Saints Church (CREC, Lancaster PA). He and his wife Jackie live in the Chicago suburbs with their two daughters and three sons.