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The Transfiguration of Christ #2


Ballymacashon Congregational Church

10th November 2013 at 11.30am

The Transfiguration of Christ – Part 2

Text: Matthew 17:1-8

We have begun to look at the Transfiguration of Christ. In this second study, note:-

1. The Changed AppearanceAnd was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. Matthew 17:2  On the mountain that day, the very first thing that alerted the disciples to the fact that this was going to be no ordinary prayer-meeting, for something very different was going to happen, was that the appearance of the Lord Jesus was changed!  There are three aspects to this change recorded in the text:-

He was transfigured!  I’m not actually sure that we can fully understand this change, at least on this side of eternity, Throughout his earthly life, Jesus was in a state of humiliation.  Philip. 2:5-8.– but he was fully God!  On the Mount of Transfiguration his Divinity simply shone through! John 1:14.   Now the next part of the verse reinforces this thought for us…

His face shone!  The word for ‘shone’ is the Greek word  φῶς (phōs) – it means shining out – radiating rays of light.  His face SHONE LIKE THE SUN!  Now the Sun is not a reflected light – it is A SOURCE OF LIGHT!  When Jesus’ face shone, it was not the reflected glory of someone else; it was HIS OWN GLORY SHINING THROUGH!  .

His clothing appeared white!

The PURITY of Christ’s Divinity!  As white as light! Mark also comments on the intensity of the light of His garments.  Mark 9:2-3 This was a brightness, an intensity of purity that no-one on earth could exceed or improve, or could even match!  Surely we see here, as we see his divinity, and his glory HIS PERFECTION!

The POWER of Christ’s divinity!  Christ’s clothing was just cloth, and probably quite drab, dull, dusty cloth!  Yet at the Transfiguration it shoneIt was Christ himself who was transfigured, not the material of his clothes, so obviously, His divinity was so powerful that His glory shone right though that dull, earthly cloth!

So, before the eye-witnesses, the appearance of Christ was changed, as his heavenly glory, his divinity, momentarily shone through his humanity, giving his disciples a short glimpse of Christ, exalted in heaven!

2. The Covenantal Attendants! And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. Matthew 17:3

To the amazement of the eye-witnesses, there were two men, talking with Jesus!  There should be no surprise for us in that.  When Christ comes again in his glory, he will come with tens thousands of his saints!  This is simply a foretaste of that event for peter and James and John.  Note:-

A heavenly record established!  There were three witnesses, to bear record on earth, and there were two witnesses to bear record in heaven.

The prominence of the Heavenly Visitors!  These two were Moses and Elias, – both remarkable in the way that they left this world as well as the way that they lived in the world.

Elias was carried to heaven in a fiery chariot, and died not.

The body of Moses was never found, possibly it was preserved from corruption, and reserved for this appearance.

In them the law and the prophets honoured Christ, and bore testimony to him.

The disciples recognised them!  Here is an interesting and important point; glorified saints shall know one another in heaven. They talked with Christ.  Christ has communion with the blessed, and will be no stranger to any of the members of that glorified corporation.   Heb_1:1.

They were bathed in Christ’s glory!  Luke’s account of the Transfiguration tells us that Moses and Elijah ‘appeared in glory!’  What a picture of heaven, and what an encouragement for every believer!  Here were two saints, saved by God’s grace, and dwelling in the very presence of the Lord Jesus Christ!  So shall we who know Him and who love Him!

3. The Conversation Analysed! talking with him. Matthew 17:3

These two witnesses were talking with Jesus!  Luke 9:30-31 They spoke about Christ’s forthcoming death upon the Cross!  There were three things in particular that were included as part of that conversation:-

* A Unusual Reference to Christ’s death!  The Greek word for ‘decease’ is interesting. The actual Greek word in simply ‘εξοδυs.  Exodus!  It means to GO OUT or to depart, and is rarely used to mean death!  Jesus referred to his death in these terms.  John 14:3,  Death is not the end of existence, it is simply a ‘going-away’ – a departure!

* The Accomplishment of Christ’s Death!  They spoke about what He was to ACCOMPLISH!   Christ’s death was something which He did…  He ACCOMPLISHED IT.  This reminds us of two very important facts:  Christ had POWER OVER HIS OWN Death!  No one could take His spirit from Him! Unlike us, He could lay down his own life, and he could take it up again!. John 10:17-18  His SACRIFICE for us WAS VOLUNTARY!  He gave His life for sinners!  On the Cross he voluntarily subjected Himself to the cruel humiliation, the painful death and the burden of our sins.  And voluntarily, for us, HE PAID THE PRICE!  John 19:30

* The Place of Christ’s Death! The third aspect of this conversation, was that they spoke of the place where Christ would be crucified.  Zechariah had known about it:  In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness. Zech. 13:1

So, what do we learn from this study?  Two simple lessons:-

The glorious condition of the departed saints!

The importance of Christ’s death for sinners.  It is the most important subject known to man!

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