"Putting Jesus in His Place"
This passage in Matthew wants to encourage us to recognize the supreme place of Jesus Christ as Lord of our lives, and of the whole world, as God's only Son.
A. There is a strong connection made with the giants of the faith up to that point.
1. On the mountaintop, Moses and Elijah appear. Long dead, yet they are very much alive with God in this supernatural conversation with Christ.
2. Moses is the great leader and lawgiver; Elijah has prominence in Jewish belief in part because of the unusual way he had departed this life: his being "taken up" left it always a live option that he might "show up" unannounced at any time.
3. At a minimum, the mountaintop powwow of these great ones shows that Jesus is the equal of the most revered of all time. Indeed, his stunning transformation is like the radiance that attended Moses when he spoke with God.
B. But there is more: this is about not only the greatness of Jesus, but about His unparalleled supremacy.
1. Peter's strange reaction shows that he wants to honor Jesus as one of the "great ones". Even though he had recently declared Jesus to be the Christ, the son of the living God, he doesn't seem to have fully grasped what he was saying.
*Whatever it was that Peter wanted to build, it was his way of saying, "Look! Our master is the equal of Moses and Elijah!"
2. Soon enough, we learn Peter, well-meaning though he was, has missed something crucial.
* The mighty voice of God declares, "This Jesus is my Son. I love him. Listen to Him."
C. Let's think about Peter's response to this astonishing encounter.
1. He wanted to do something nice to honor the occasion. But there is a downside.
*Jesus will not be contained in a "shelter" or box. Nor can he be memorialized as one who has simply lived and died as a great person.
*As great as these other two are, they cannot be compared with Jesus. He is more than a great teacher or religious leader. He is, as Peter himself had said, the Son of the living God.
D. We also believe that He is the Christ, the Son of the living God. But are there ways that we fail to recognize his actual authority in our lives?
1. Sometimes, like Peter, we like to be "busy for God" at church. But our home life may deny his Lordship over how we treat the members of our own family.
2. We may enjoy a good theological discussion or Bible study, but we do not have the living Christ in our lives.
3. We may be good at spotting those who are not "true Christians", but by our unkindness we dishonor Christ ourselves.
E. Whenever we seek to compartmentalize the Lord from certain sections of our lives, we are trying to limit His authority over us. The transfiguration teaches us to acknowledge Himwith our words, and to give Him free reign in our lives. "This is my SON, whom I love. LISTEN to him".