Jesus Reveals Himself as the
Jesus asks the disciple about the
people’s opinion of Him (27-28)
Peter confesses Jesus is the
Jesus warns the disciples not to
tell anyone (30)
Jesus Teaches about the Things to
His death and resurrection (31)
Peter rebuked (32-33)
The cost of following Jesus (34)
Saving one’s life/soul (35-37)
Coming of the Son of Man and the kingdom of God (31-9:1)
The Transfiguration (9:2-13)
Jesus appears dazzling white
Moses and Elijah appear (4)
Peter’s reaction (5-6)
A voice from the cloud (7)
The disciples try to figure out
what they saw (8-13)
Christ, suffer, rejected, killed,
rise, cross, life, soul, save, lose, ashamed, glory, power, transfigured,
1. It was important for the
disciples to know whom they were following and what they were getting into.
They had to evaluate their own beliefs (“Who do you say that I am?” [8:29])
against what other people believed. The disciples must be certain of their
beliefs in order to stand against the persecutions that would soon come.
Being aware of other viewpoints
helps to strengthen our faith and to preach the gospel. We can see for
ourselves how the gospel is unique among all religions. We do not believe
blindly because the true gospel can withstand all other teachings. Knowing what
other people believe helps us find a common ground. From there, we can
gradually lead them to the correct teachings in the Bible.
2. Although the people came up
with many possible answers, they were all wrong. They thought of Jesus as a man
and could not accept Him as God. Today, there are many schools of religious
thoughts, but they are all wrong if their ideas contradict the word of God.
3. God revealed the truth to him
(Mt 16:17). However, the disciples had a different concept of the
Christ/Messiah prophesied in the Bible. They expected Jesus to reign in the
world (Mk 11:6-10, Acts 1:6). They did not truly know the kingdom of God
until they received the Holy Spirit (Acts 3:18-20).
4. It was not yet time. The people
were blinded by their own expectations. Jesus commanded His disciples to wait.
After His resurrection, the truth would become clear. Even though the disciples
did not understand at this time, they obeyed.
6. This was the first time Jesus
spoke in detail about His suffering. It must have shocked the disciples. Peter
did not think Jesus could be rejected and killed (Mt 16:22). He probably
ignored the part about Jesus rising again because he did not understand it. But
the resurrection is a significant part of God’s plan. Peter saw only Jesus’
suffering and not the fulfillment of salvation. By ignoring parts of God’s
teaching, we might also jump to the wrong conclusion.
7. Because he was “not mindful of
the things of God, but the things of men” (8:33). The things of men come from
Satan. Perhaps Satan used Peter’s love for Jesus to tempt Him to give up His
mission. But Jesus knew He must put God’s will above all.
8a. Perhaps it was out of respect that Peter rebuked Jesus in private.
However, by contradicting Jesus’ words, Peter showed great disrespect to God.
Jesus rebuked Peter before the other disciples to teach them the great cost and
the greater reward of following Him.
9a. The cross was a symbol of suffering and
shame (cf. Did You Know 4). But Jesus warns us that if we are ashamed of Him
and His words, He will be ashamed of us when He comes again (8:38). We must
live and die for Jesus and the gospel (8:35).
9b. To save our lives means to be mindful of
the “things of men” rather than to the “things of God” (33). In other words, a
person who saves his life in this world yields to his own desires and
ambitions. Subsequently, he will lose his eternal life.
On the contrary, losing our lives
means submitting to God’s will, denying our ego and selfish desires, taking up
suffering and shame for the sake of Christ and for the gospel, and following
the footsteps of our Lord (34). If we lose our lives in this world, we will
preserve our everlasting life.
10. The Bible puts the things in the world into three categories: lust
of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and pride of life (1Jn 2:16). When we give into
these sinful pleasures, we give up our soul. It is not an even exchange because
earthly pleasures are temporary, while our soul will suffer the consequences
11. Peter denied Jesus three times. Today, we might be ashamed to let
others know we are Christians. We might be uncomfortable reading the Bible in
public. We might shy away from talking to others about our beliefs.
12. Some of the disciples did indeed see the kingdom of God
before their death. The kingdom
of God is a spiritual
one. Jesus said that the kingdom
of God is within and
among us (Lk 17:21). When the disciples received the
Holy Spirit, they experienced the kingdom
of God. When the
apostolic church was established, the believers also saw the power of the kingdom of God. They were not ashamed of Jesus, and
Jesus worked with them.
13. 1. Their appearance tells us who Jesus was.
Both were great prophets and mighty workers in the Old Testament. Moses
represented the Law and Elijah the Prophets, both of which Jesus fulfilled (Mt
5:17; 11:12-13). The transfiguration teaches us that Jesus, being greater than
Moses and Elijah, was the one all the prophets had been waiting for.
2. Elijah and Moses both played
an important role in God’s salvation plan. It was appropriate for them to
appear to discuss Jesus’ impending death on the cross (Lk
9:31). Elijah’s ministry shows us God’s grace in spite of our rebellion (Rom
11:2-5). Jesus knew that many (even one of His disciples) were conspiring to
kill Him, but He continued to love them. Moses chose to suffer “disgrace for
the sake of Christ” (Heb 11:26, NIV) in exchange for the greater reward in
heaven. His ministry prefigures our journey of faith. The laws given through
Moses prefigure Jesus’ doctrines and sacraments. By shedding His blood on the
cross, Jesus fulfilled the Mosaic laws and completed God’s salvation plan.
14a. Six days earlier Jesus had
rebuked Peter for speaking rashly. Here, Peter blubbered out of fear even
though “he did not know what to say” (9:6). Why would Elijah and Moses, much
less Jesus in glory, need a tent?
Peter’s words showed a lack of
understanding of Jesus’ identity and mission. The focus of the transfiguration
was the Lord Jesus Christ, not Elijah or Moses. Also, Jesus’ final goal was suffering
and the resurrection, not staying in a tent on the mountain to enjoy glory.
Peter’s nonsensical words teach us
a lesson in self-control. The Bible teaches against speaking hastily (Prov 29:20; Jas 1:19).
15. Jesus gave the disciples a preview of how He would appear in glory,
thus proving His words in 9:1. Not only so, the transfiguration, and appearance
of Elijah and Moses, and the voice from heaven all confirmed for the disciples
Jesus’ identity as the Christ and the beloved Son of God.
Peter in his old age vividly
recalled the transfiguration when he wrote about the coming of the Lord (2Pet
1:16-18). The experience must have made a deep impression and confirmed his
faith in Christ.
16. As important as Moses and Elijah were, they were merely servants.
The voice from the cloud reminded the disciples to listen to Jesus, God’s
beloved Son. Likewise, our faith must be set on Jesus alone. No worker of God,
however gifted, is comparable to Him.
17. Mal 4:5 prophesied that God would send Elijah before the day of judgement. Perhaps the disciples understood this as Elijah
coming back from the dead. They were doing their best to connect what Jesus
said to what they knew. After Jesus pointed them in the right direction, they
understood that John the Baptist was the prophesied Elijah (cf. Lk 1:16-17; Mt 17:13).