Words of Jesus Part 14

  • Matthew 17:1 And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart,
  • Mat 17:2 And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.
  • Mat 17:3 And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.
  • Mat 17:4 Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.
  • Mat 17:5 While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.
  • Mat 17:6 And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid.
  • Mat 17:7 And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid.
  • Mat 17:8 And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only.

This vision is given to these two disciples I believe to bear witness that Jesus was the Christ sent from God. Jews at that time believed in Moses and Elijah. They recognized them as true prophets of God. This was only given to Peter, James and John; but it showed them that Jesus was indeed who He said He was. Also it showed them that Jesus now was the one to follow for He came to fulfill the law.

Why Jesus chose these three is speculation.  It could be that they could be trusted not to reveal this until after the resurrection of Jesus and it could also just be to fulfill the word previously written in the Old Testament that by the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established. Perhaps these three were ready to receive this vision whereas the others may have been overwhelmed by this event.

I read an interesting theory on this on the Internet. I will state it here as just his opinion for it might not be correct but it was interesting. He stated that Moses represented the part of the rapture that resurrected the dead saints of God. Elijah represented the ones raptured without dying first which happened to Elijah. Another one raptured without death is Enoch. He further stated that Peter, James and John were chosen because they represented the part of the church that was ready and accounted worthy to go in the rapture. The rest of the apostles represented the sleeping church who missed the rapture and had to endure the tribulation. We know that the apostles made heaven by the verses in Revelation but the point he was making sounded very interesting considering that Jesus did warn us to watch and pray that we might be counted worthy to escape all these things and stand before the Son of Man.

  • Luke 21:36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

I don't know if I would agree with all of this but it could very well be that Moses and Elijah could represent what he stated that they could represent. Other opinions on the subject seem to place the importance on the verse:

  • Matthew 17:8 And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only.

After the vision was gone they only saw Jesus which might indicate that Jesus now is the main object of our attention while Moses and Elijah's part was fulfilled. My own thought was on Peter, James and John being witnesses of Moses and Elijah confirming who Jesus was.

Perhaps all these meanings are true. Bible study can be fascinating if one will consider the opinion of others without getting angry or to the opposite extreme; excepting someone's opinion because of who they are instead of making sure they have gotten it right.

  • Matthew 17:9 And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.

This could be so that they would not irritate the Jewish leaders and cause Christ's death to come before the right time. Maybe perhaps if they told the other disciples at this point, they would feel left out and rejected. Jesus knew though what He was saying and why. Peter, James and John probably didn't understand all these events until after the resurrection of Jesus and the coming of the Holy Spirit. Notice that after the Holy Spirit was given on the day of Pentecost, there was no more hierarchy. Everyone was equal. We still need preachers, teachers and those that maintain order and keep out the wolves but they serve as servants not as lords over the flock. Hierarchy and the giving of titles are manmade from that point on. There are words spoken by Peter and by Jesus to prove that point but I don't want to get off track here.

  • Matthew 17:10 And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come?
  • Mat 17:11 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things.
  • Mat 17:12 But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them.
  • Mat 17:13 Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.

Some teach that as John the Baptist was a forerunner of the first coming of Jesus, Elijah will be a forerunner of His second coming. There are to be two witnesses appearing during the tribulation. Some believe this to be Moses and Elijah but if that was the case, Moses would have to die literally twice. Some speculate, Enoch and Elijah since they never died. Some say Enoch and John since they believe there is no proof of the death of John. Their reasoning is one from the Old Testament and one from the New testament. This is just guesswork though. Some things we just do not know for sure but it makes interesting conversation and study.

  • Matthew 17:14 And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying,
  • Mat 17:15 Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water.
  • Mat 17:16 And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him.
  • Mat 17:17 Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me.

Jesus rebuked unbelief in His disciples. They should have been able to help this boy and deliver Him from the power of the enemy. This kind of faith comes by prayer and fasting as we are led by the Holy Spirit. We need to increase our prayer life and communication with God.  We need the power today as well as back in those days.

Jesus told us to go into the entire world from until He returns and teach them. He also told us to heal the sick when we preach the gospel to confirm the words we speak. This gives us a preview of the new bodies and resurrection we shall partake in at the return of Jesus to set up His kingdom. 

Physical healing is rare in the church today. It could be that we have used this gift to build great ministries that give glory and honor to the man instead of God. It could be we have emphasized money in connection with these ministries so much that the gospel itself has taken a back seat. The healing ministry and the gifts of the spirit are never to replace the gospel. They are given to enable us to preach the gospel with power and signs following not to build big ministries that puff up some individual person that claims to have these gifts. The gifts are for the whole body of Christ, not just the clergy. In fact there is no real clergy and laity division after the baptism of the Holy Spirit is poured out. The church should be led by a plurality of godly elders. This is my own opinion here and not to be taken as "thus saith the Lord" except where Jesus speaks that we are not to exalt one over another. 

  • Matthew 20:25 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.
  • Mat 20:26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;
  • Mat 20:27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:
  • Mat 20:28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

Humble but strong in love, faith and holiness. Strong leadership ability as example, not lords over other, teachers yet teachable, compassionate but yet truthful and willing to correct.

  • Matthew 17:18 And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour.
  • Mat 17:19 Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out?
  • Mat 17:20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
  • Mat 17:21 Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.

John Wesley's commentary on this passage states:
This kind of devils - goeth not out but by prayer and fasting - What a testimony is here of the efficacy of fasting, when added to fervent prayer! Some kinds of devils the apostles had cast out before this, without fasting.

Certain kinds of devils are so stubborn that only powerful faith attained by prayer and fasting can drive them out.

We have to be very careful to walk in humility, love and stay focused on the will of the Holy Spirit. There have been some that go around casting devils out of everyone for a variety of reasons. This doesn't mean that we should just avoid this type of ministry because there are those that really need help and deliverance. It should be done but in humility and truth. Not in giving too much attention and adoration to the one doing the ministering. We should never exalt one person above another and think of them more highly that we ought to think. They are just men and women. We all should be able to cast a devil out of a demon possessed person but we have to be equipped and led by the Holy Spirit to do it. We can't do it alone. Actually more than one should be praying.

  • Matthew 17:22 And while they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto them, The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men:
  • Mat 17:23 And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry.

Again Jesus prepares them for the days to come. They still will not understand when it happens but later they will understand. Most were still thinking that Jesus was coming at that time to set up His kingdom.

Some in these latter days are trying to set up Christ's kingdom for Him. This is not the way. We fall into the same error that the Jews fell into in looking for a literal kingdom to be fulfilled at the wrong time. It will not happen until God says it is time. We can't decide that we are supposed to do it ourselves. We are to spread the gospel into the entire world, not try to set up a worldwide church and a manmade kingdom of God. Many have already tried that and look that the murder and wars that took place. This is not the gospel. The gospel of the kingdom is being "born again" by the spirit of God and the kingdom is within each and every believer.

The literal kingdom of God will not come until Jesus Himself returns as lightning shines from the east to the west. We cannot make it happen ourselves. Just as we cannot make someone become "born again" or "saved", we cannot make the kingdom of heaven come by our own works and rituals. We are to be vessels to spread the gospel of being saved by grace but we cannot force this upon anyone. Only God and the person receiving can bring salvation.

The first coming was to make the way for sin to be remitted for all who believe and repent of sin. When we repent of sin and come to Christ, we are born again by the spirit of God. This cannot be forced upon anyone. It is a work of the Holy Spirit. The same thing is true of the coming of Jesus and setting up His kingdom. We cannot make that happen by our own works of taking over government and uniting church and state. Only Jesus Himself in person can do that. If we try, we will only become just exactly like the church in the middle ages that became corrupt and almost destroyed the true meaning of being saved by grace and born again by the spirit. Read the bible and understand the truth.

  • Matthew 17:24 And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute?
  • Mat 17:25 He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers?
  • Mat 17:26 Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free.
  • Mat 17:27 Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.

Tribute money was supposed to be voluntary to support the temple. Jesus allowed them to give anyway rather than offend but in reality it should be voluntary giving and not coerced in any way like we have seen the church do throughout the ages.

Words of Jesus Part 15

Words of Jesus Index



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