The Scriptorium

Restoration's Beginning

It started with John, and continues with us. Matthew 17.9-13

Matthew 17: Glory and the Grind (2)

Pray Psalm Psalm 96.1-4.
Oh, sing to the LORD a new song!
Sing to the LORD, all the earth.
Sing to the LORD, bless His name;
Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.
Declare His glory among the nations,
His wonders among all peoples.
For the LORD is great and greatly to be praised;
He is to be feared above all gods.

Sing Psalm 96.1-4.
(Mit Freuden Zart: All Praise to God, Who Reigns Above)
Sing to the Lord! O, bless His Name! All nations tell His glory!
Salvation’s tidings loud proclaim; let earth rehearse His story!
For God is greatly to be praised; His throne above all gods is raised –
Fear Him, and sing His glory!

Read Matthew 17.1-13; meditate on verses 9-13.

1. What did the disciples ask Jesus?

2. What did they understand from His answer?

Peter, James, and John had just seen a wonderful vision of Jesus (vv. 1-8). They had heard Him talking with Moses and Elijah about His death. They’d been enveloped in a cloud of glory and heard the voice of God commanding them to hear Jesus and listen to Him. This was undoubtedly the most exciting experience of their entire lives.

And Jesus forbade them to speak about it (v. 9). That would certainly be a test of their willingness to hear Him.

His goal, of course, was to make sure that nothing would get in the way of His realizing the full glory of why He’d come – His suffering, death, and resurrection. Only after that would the vision on the mountaintop make proper sense. The disciples had glimpsed His glory for a few moments there; in the aftermath of His resurrection, His glory would increase in and through them to the ends of the earth, as they proclaimed the Good News of the Kingdom, made disciples, and carried out the Lord’s agenda of building His Church (Eph. 1.15-23).

The disciples had just seen Elijah with Jesus on the mountain. It was first time they’d seen him, so naturally they wondered why the religious leaders taught that Elijah must come first, before the coming of the Messiah (v. 10). Jesus’ answer cleared matters up: John the Baptist was Elijah, albeit symbolically (vv. 11, 12). His ministry, in preparing the way for the coming of Christ, was to “restore all things.” Here Jesus indicated that the time of the restoration of all things began with John the Baptist. John’s role in that was twofold: To set forth repentance and good works as the essence of restoration, and to point to the Messiah – Jesus – Who would take away the sins of the world. Through His life, death, and resurrection, Jesus reconciled the fallen world to God. On that basis, God would give to all disciples the ministry of reconciliation – of carrying out the restoration of all things, until Jesus comes again to complete that great work (2 Cor. 5.18-21).

This work has been given to us. By it, we expect to glorify God in everything we do, until the knowledge of the glory of the Lord covers the earth as the waters cover the sea (Matt. 5.13-16; 1 Cor. 10.31; Hab. 2.14).

1. What does the work of restoring all things entail?

2. Why was the glory of the cross and the empty tomb more significant than the glory of the mount of transfiguration?

3. Are we supposed to be silent about the glory of the Lord in our day? Explain.

John was forerunner of the first, John whom Christ also called by the name Elijah, not because he was Elijah but because he was fulfilling Elijah’s ministry.
John Chrysostom (344-407), The Gospel of Matthew, Homily 57.1

Grant me grace, Lord, that I may work to restore the reconciled world today as I…

Pray Psalm 96.5-13.
Jesus has led the way for us into the work of restoring the reconciled world. Commit your day to Him, that He might work through you to make all things new.

Sing Psalm 96.5-13.
Psalm 96.5-13 (Mit Freuden Zart: All Praise to God, Who Reigns Above)
All other gods are idols vain – the Lord created heaven.
Splendor and strength with Him obtain; to Him be glory given!
All fam’lies, praise this mighty Lord! Give strength and glory to His Word;
exalt the Lord of heaven.

Bring off’rings sweet to Him, our Lord, in holy garments praise Him!
Tremble before Him, all the earth; among the nations raise Him!
The earth is fixed, it will not move; the peoples will His justice prove –
exalt the Lord and praise Him.

Let heaven sing with lusty voice; let earth and sea sing sweetly!

Let fields and trees in Him rejoice, for He is coming swiftly
to judge the world in righteousness, the peoples in His faithfulness –

He comes; exalt Him greatly!

T. M. Moore

Now might be a good time to start working through our
ReVision series on “Restoring the Reconciled World.” You can download all the studies thus far in that series by clicking here. Use the pop-up to add ReVision to your list of subscriptions.

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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