A Glimpse of Heaven – Matthew 17:1-13

I decided to keep this section pretty short because there is a lot to learn by going back and reading about Moses and Elijah and what they represented and the prophecy in Malachi.  Do some digging today and see if you can learn something new.  I did for sure!

  • V1 – While Jesus has a close circle of twelve, He’s got an even closer circle of three (see also 26:37).

◊ Do I have a close group of friends with whom I can learn and grow?  Do I have people I’m discipling with the goal of preparing them to disciple others?

  • V2 – It seems like He’s revealing Himself to them in His true form (His heavenly appearance rather than His earthly one.)  They are seeing another proof that He’s really the Son of God, like Peter said He was.
  • V3 – I’ve always wondered how the disciples knew it was Moses and Elijah.  Moses represents the Law and Elijah the Prophets.  The purpose of the Law and Prophets (which comprises the entire Old Testament) was to prepare us for the arrival of the Messiah and to help us recognize our need for Him.
  • Incidentally, Moses and Elijah had some crazy God experiences of their own (Exodus 33:11, 24:29-35; 1 Kings 19:11-13, 2 Kings 2:1-12)
  • V4 – Peter always lets fly with whatever’s in his head!  Sometimes we’re not supposed to go, do, but to just sit in worship; trusting that Jesus has things under control, we can just enjoy Him.
  • V5 – Peter is interrupted by God.

◊ Have I ever had plans of my own contrivance that were interrupted by God?  Did I drop what I was doing and pay attention to Him?

  • V5 – This isn’t the first time God’s shown up in a cloud (Exodus 13:21-22) or the first time He’s spoken from a cloud on a mountain.  The first time (Exodus 19:9) was to confirm that Moses was bringing His law.  This time it is to confirm that Jesus is the fulfillment of that Law.
  • V5 – It makes me so happy that I serve a God who, whenever He introduces His Son, states that He loves Him and He’s proud of Him.  (3:17, 12:18)
  • “Listen to Him”

◊ Am I listening?  Really listening and obeying?

  • V6 – Apparently, hearing God’s vice is an unnerving experience.

◊ Do I fear God and give Him the respect He deserves?

  • V8 – What a bizarre experience!  It was symbolism for the ages, but in the moment it would be very overwhelming to process.
  • V9 – He still needs to keep the fact that He’s the Messiah under wraps.
  • V10 – It’s like the disciples didn’t even hear Him say “raised from the dead.”  They ask Him about Malachi 4:5, literally the last prophecy in the OT.  That’s why there was so much discussion about whether John the B or Jesus was Elijah.  The Jews have been thinking, when we see Elijah, then the Messiah will come wipe out evildoers, heal us all, and set us free so we can trample our enemies (my paraphrase of Mal. 4:1-3).  When the disciples saw Elijah, they probably got super excited.  Maybe Peter was even thinking the tents would be like battle stations to start planning their attack.  Moses and Elijah’s sudden disappearance would be pretty confusing if the disciples though they had come to start an offensive against the Romans.
  • V11-13 – I think verse 11 implies that Elijah will still come back before Jesus’ return (none of my study Bibles even addressed the verse).  After all, he never died so it stands to reason he’s got another job to do on earth later.   But v12-13 makes it clear that John the Baptist was the one Malachi was talking about.  (Luke 1:17 confirms this as well) or at least he also fulfilled that prophecy.
  • V12 – God is fulfilling His promises by sending first John the B as prophet, then Jesus as Messiah, but many people don’t recognize them for who they are.

◊ Is my understanding of God and His character and kingdom so twisted that I wouldn’t recognize Him if He was staring me in the face?  The Jews seemed to be caught up in working their way to God – they wanted an exclusive club, not a free gift for everyone – and so they couldn’t recognize Him then.  If Jesus showed up now and promised (again) that following Him would mean suffering and hardship rather than a life of blessing and ease, would I disbelieve that He is God’s Son because a loving God wouldn’t ask that of me?

  • V13 – The Holy Spirit is starting to open their eyes more and more.  For guys who only two chapters ago couldn’t get that what makes a person sinful before God is what comes out of his heart, not what goes into his mouth (15:15-18) that was a pretty big leap!

◊ Am I experiencing greater understanding as I pray for the Holy Spirit to help me to better understand God and His kingdom?

Wrap up your quiet time by praying through the following questions:

  • Based on this passage of Scripture, what can I thank God for?
  • What do these verses tell me about God and His character?
  • Based on this passage, is there anything I need to confess to God and ask forgiveness for?
  • What do these verses remind me to pray for others?
  • What do these verses move me to pray for myself?
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About knockinguntilitopens

I am a Christ follower, a wife, a mom, and a creator. I like to share my stuff.
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