The Scriptorium

Glory on the Mountain

The glory of God is revealed in Jesus. Matthew 17.1-8

Matthew 17: Glory and the Grind (1)

Pray Psalm 93.1, 2.
The LORD reigns, He is clothed with majesty;
The LORD is clothed,
He has girded Himself with strength.
Surely the world is established, so that it cannot be moved.
Your throne is established from of old;
You are from everlasting.

Sing Psalm 93.1, 2.
(Trinity: Come, Thou Almighty King)
The Lord in majesty reigns, girded and clothed in strength!
Earth stands secure: Nor shall it e’er be moved;
God on His throne above set it in place with love –
His reign is sure!

Read and meditate on Matthew 17.1-8.

1. Who came to be with Jesus on the mountain? What do they represent?

2. How would you describe the disciples’ response?

There’s more happening in these verses than we can do justice to in one brief meditation. Let’s concentrate on just a few key items.

Jesus took the inner group of His disciples with Him, knowing what was going to happen. They saw Him become transfigured, so that He shone with His eternal glory, and everything about Him was radiant with heavenly brightness. Moses and Elijah appeared to Him there – symbols of Old Testament revelation, talking with Jesus (as Luke tells us) about His “departure” (Lk. 9.31). By this we learn that the entire Old Testament pointed to Jesus and His glory, depicted and predicted His suffering, and showed the way to redemption through Him.

Naturally, the disciples were excited about this experience, and sought to prolong it. Until, that is, a bright cloud overshadowed them all, and “a voice came out of the cloud saying, ‘This I My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!’” Then they because terrified and fell on their faces – a natural response to being exposed to the glory of God.

Jesus calmed their fears, and when they looked up, they were alone with Him again. Jesus had allowed these three disciples to see His glory, thus giving them a foretaste of their own destinations (1 Jn. 3.1-3), and a proper incentive for the work He would be assigning to them. They were to understand that all the revelation of Scripture, given in the past, and all that might be given in the days to come, were for the glory of Jesus and the furthering of His divine will.

In these three disciples, all the disciples are represented, just as in Moses and Elijah all the Old Testament is represented. This includes us. It is the will of God, for the glory of Jesus Christ, that we listen to Jesus, obey His Word, and seek His glory in everything we do. Faith that does not have these parameters and objectives is not true faith at all.

1. What are some ways that Old Testament depicts and predicts the suffering of Jesus? How should this guide us in reading the Old Testament?

2. What is the glory of God? What does it mean to live for the glory of God (1 Cor. 10.31)?

3. Why did Jesus consider it necessary that these three disciples should have this experience?

Why does he take only these three with him? Because each one of these three was elevated above the rest. Peter showed his preeminence by exceedingly loving him; John by being exceedingly loved by him. James showed his superiority by his ready response to his brother: we are able to drink the cup and by his works and by doing what he said.
John Chrysostom (344-407), The Gospel of Matthew, Homily 56.2

Lord, I would live for your glory today as I…

Pray Psalm 93.3-5.
Whatever you’re facing today – whatever seems is if it might overwhelm or drown you – Jesus is greater and more glorious still. Listen to Him, and follow His every Word.

Sing Psalm 93.3-5.
Psalm 93.3-5 (Trinity: Come, Thou Almighty King)
What, though the floods arise, raising their voice to the skies?
Strong though they be, God on His mighty throne,
drowns out their fearsome drone, hasting to save His own,

Almighty God on high, Your Word can never lie!
Your truth is sure – holy and just are they
who tread Your holy way; Yours shall they ever stay,
Lord, evermore.

T. M. Moore

To learn more about the glory of God, and how that glory figures into our calling as His covenant people, order a copy of our book, I Will Be Your God(click here).

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All quotations from Church Fathers from
Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore