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Posts tagged ‘Matthew 17:1-9’

Matthew 17 Calvin’s view on the days of spectatorship

Matthew 17:1. And after six days. We must first inquire for what purpose Christ clothed himself with heavenly glory for a short time, and why he did not admit more than three of his disciples to be spectators. Some think that he did so, in order to fortify them against the trial which they were soon to meet with, arising from his death. That does not appear to me to be a probable reason; for why should he have deprived the rest of the same remedy, or rather, why does he expressly forbid them to make known what they had seen till after his resurrection, but because the result of the vision would be later than his death?

I have no doubt whatever that Christ intended to show that he was not dragged unwillingly to death, but that he came forward of his own accord, to offer to the Father the sacrifice of obedience. The disciples were not made aware of this till Christ rose; nor was it even necessary that, at the very moment of his death, they should perceive the divine power of Christ, so as to acknowledge it to be victorious on the cross; but the instruction which they now received was intended to be useful at a future period both to themselves and to us, that no man might take offense at the weakness of Christ, as if it were by force and necessity that he had suffered. {1 } It would manifestly have been quite as easy for Christ to protect his body from death as to clothe it with heavenly glory.

We are thus taught that he was subjected to death, because he wished it to be so; that he was crucified, because he offered himself. That same flesh, which was sacrificed on the cross and lay in the grave, might have been exempted from death and the grave; for it had already partaken of the heavenly glory. We are also taught that, so long as Christ remained in the world, bearing the form of a servant, and so long as his majesty was concealed under the weakness of the flesh, nothing had been taken from him, for it was of his own accord that he emptied himself, (#Php 2:7); but now his resurrection has drawn aside that veil by which his power had been concealed for a time.

Our Lord reckoned it enough to select three witnesses, because that is the number which the Law has laid down for proving any thing;

at the mouth of two witnesses or three witnesses, (#De 17:6).

The difference as to time ought not to give us uneasiness. Matthew and Mark reckon six entire days, which had elapsed between the events. Luke says that it happened about eight days afterwards, including both the day on which Christ spake these words, and the day on which he was transfigured. We see then that, under a diversity of expression, there is a perfect agreement as to the meaning.

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2. And was transfigured before them. Luke says that this happened while he was praying; and from the circumstances of time and place, we may infer that he had prayed for what he now obtained, that in the brightness of an unusual form his Godhead might become visible*; not that he needed to ask by prayer from another what he did not possess, or that he doubted his Father’s willingness, but because, during the whole course of his humiliation, he always ascribed to the Father whatever he did as a divine Person, and because he intended to excite us to prayer by his example.

His transfiguration did not altogether enable his disciples to see Christ, as he now is in heaven, but gave them a taste of his boundless glory, such as they were able to comprehend. Then his face shone as the sun; but now he is far beyond the sun in brightness. In his raiment an unusual and dazzling whiteness appeared; but now without raiment a divine majesty shines in his whole body. Thus in ancient times God appeared to the holy fathers, not as He was in Himself, but so far as they could endure the rays of His infinite brightness; for John declares that not until

they are like him will they see him as he is, (#1Jo 3:2).**

There is no necessity for entering here into ingenious inquiries as to the whiteness of his garments, or the brightness of his countenance; for this was not a complete exhibition of the heavenly glory of Christ, but, under symbols which were adapted to the capacity of the flesh, he enabled them to taste in part what could not be fully comprehended.

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{1 } “Comme si par force et contreinte il fust renu endurer la mort”;  — ” as if by force and constraint he had come to suffer death.”

* Calvin writes from his trinitarian point of view not seeing that Jesus as son of God wanted to do the Will of His heavenly Father and did put his own will aside, emptying himself. Though Calvin recognises that Jesus always ascribed to the Father whatever he did as a divine person.

** 1Jo 3:2 Beloved, now are we children of God, and it is not yet made manifest what we shall be. We know that, if {1 } he shall be manifested, we shall be like him; for we shall see him even as he is.

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Preceding

Matthew 17:1-9 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Transfiguration Vision

Matthew 17:10-13 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Elijah Has Already Come

Matthew 17:14-21 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Faith the Size of a Mustard Seed

Matthew 17:22-23 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Grief and Jesus’ Prediction of His Death

Matthew 17:24-27 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Tax-free Sons No Stumbling-block

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Related

  1. Into the Midst of Theology
  2. On the Mountain
  3. Matthew Chapter A Day – 17
  4. Matthew 17 – The Mount of Transfiguration
  5. The Transfiguration of Christ
  6. Transfiguration Sunday
  7. Matthew 17:1-8 The Terrifying Transfiguration
  8. 4. Witnessed the Transfiguration of Jesus
  9. Jesus’ glory revealed: Mark 9
  10. Mark 9:2-8 – Shining the Light on Our Fears
  11. “It is good for us to be here.” A Sermon of Anastasius of Sinai, bishop
  12. The Glory of Jesus’ Transfiguration
  13. And Jesus alone remains
  14. As no fuller
  15. Uphill and Down
  16. Wake Up and See Who Jesus Really Is
  17. Peter & John — Luke 9:28-36
  18. Transfiguration – Divinization and the Transmigration of Souls

Matthew 17:1-9 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Transfiguration Vision

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN:
A TRANSFIGURED SON AND AN EMPTY POCKET

[“Glory and Taxes”]
(Key word: “Listen!”)

Matthew 17:1-9 – Transfiguration Vision

|| Mark 9:2-8; Luke 9:28-36

MT17:1 Now after six days[1] Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John[2] (the brother of James) and ascended with them to a very secluded place on a tall mountain.[3] MT17:2 And right before them Jesus was metamorphosed[4] – his face illuminated like the sun[5] and his cloak as white light.[6] MT17:3 And, look! they could see Moses and Elijah[7] speaking with Jesus. MT17:4 Peter responded and said to Jesus, “Master, if you wish I shall make three tents[8] – one for you and Moses and Elijah.” MT17:5 Yet while Peter was talking, look! a shining cloud rested over them, and, look! a Voice came from the cloud,[9] saying, “This is my beloved Son whom I approve[10] – listen to him.”[11] MT17:6 Now, hearing this the disciples were frightened and fell on their faces. MT17:7 Jesus approached the disciples and touching them, he said, “Rise and do not be afraid.” MT17:8 But, when the disciples looked up they saw nothing but Jesus himself. MT17:9 Now while descending the mountain Jesus charged[12] the three disciples: “Tell no one[13] about the vision[14] until the Son of Humankind[15] is raised from among those dead.”[16]

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[1] After six days: Mark 9:2 agrees though Luke 9:28 says, “But it happened about eight days after…” Some see the transfiguration as the fulfillment of what the Nazarene said earlier (Matthew 16:28). It ought to be observed that there is nothing in the “vision” which speaks of the arrival of Jesus’ kingdom in power.

[2] Peter, James, and John: Are these the primary foundation stones of the Congregation? Note in Mark 13:3 Andrew is added to a select group among the apostles.

[3] A very secluded place on a tall mountain: Or, KJV: into an high mountain apart; KNX: where they were along; LB: a high and lonely hill. Some believe this is that 9,000-foot mountain nearest Caesar Philippi, Mount Hermon.

[4] Jesus was metamorphosed: The Greek is METAMORPHOTHE. Or, KJV: transfigured; RHM: transformed; WMS: his appearance was changed; PME: his whole appearance changed before their eyes. Note a form of the word at Romans 12:2 and 2 Corinthians 3:18. According to Luke 9:29 this occurred “as he was praying.”

[5] Face illuminated like the sun: Or KJV: his faced did shine as the sun. Compare Daniel 12:3; Matthew 13:43; Revelation 1:14. Note, Exodus 34:29: “Moses did not know that the skin of his face emitted rays.” (NW) It is impossible not to include as a cross reference 2 Corinthians 3:7, 10, 15, 18 and the relationship with the “new covenant.”

[6] His cloak as white light: Or, ASV: garment became white as the light; RIEU: white as light itself. Mark 9:3 adds: “… far whiter than any clothes cleaner on earth could whiten them.” (Revelation 1:16)

[7] Moses and Elijah: Some see these two as representing the Law and the Prophets pointing to Messiah. The three are called “prophets.” The three all fast for 40 days. All three hear the Voice of God. All three are associated with the Name of God. All three are involved in the saving acts of God. Compare Malachi 4:4, 5. See notes on Revelation 11:5, 6.

[8] I shall make three tents: We note the spontaneity of Peter. Perhaps he expects these three to remain during the chilly night. He may create an evening bivouac from boughs and limbs of trees.

[9] Voice came from the cloud: This is the second of three cases where the Voice of God is heard, all in the presence of Jesus (Matthew 3:17; John 12:28). Peter gives his own inspired interpretation of this event at 2 Peter 1:16-18. The Voice is “God the Father.” The main point is the revelation of the “power and presence (PAROUSIA)” of our Lord Jesus Christ. Some wish to make this the second coming or that Parousia future from the days of Jesus and the disciples. (Matthew 24:3; 1 Corinthians 15:23; 1 Thessalonians 2:19; 3:13; 4:15; 5:23; 2 Thessalonians 2:1, 8; James 5:7, 8; 2 Peter 3:4; 1 John 2:28) Others see the parousia here as that first coming of the Nazarene.

[10] This is my beloved Son whom I approve: These are the words heard by John the Baptist and the Nazarene at his baptism (see notes at Matthew 3:17; Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22). Peter records the Voice at 2 Peter 1:17. The phrase is similar to a conflate of Psalm 2:7 and Isaiah 42:1. Peter is to quote the context of Psalm 2:7 later at Acts 4:24; and, Paul Psalm 2:7 exactly at Acts 13:33, 34. Both apply Psalm 2 to that period upon the resurrection and ascension of Jesus to heaven as envisioned by Daniel 7:13. It is curious that this is witnessed only by three of the apostles and these are later told not to tell anyone (the other apostles?) of the vision (Matthew 17:9).

[11] Listen to him: Here is the main point of the whole episodic vision: to charge these three apostles to hear or listen in obedience to the Son (Note Hebrews 1:1). Matthew was not present on this occasion so must have learned the details from Peter, James, or John; and this after the resurrection of the Son of Humankind. “Listen” is a word occurring often in the Gospels: Matthew 11:15; 13:9, 18, 43; 15:10; Mark 4:3, 9, 20, 23, 33; 7:14; Luke 8:8, 18; 14:35; John 10:3, 16, 27.

[12] Jesus charged: Or, ASV: commanded; KNX: ward; MOF: ordered.

[13] Tell no one: We may assume this included the other nine apostles. What an awesome charge to confidence – a lesson for many an elder to keep confidentiality. On this matter compare Paul’s own at 2 Corinthians 12:4.

[14] The vision: The appearance of “Moses” and “Elijah” were visionary not the real persons alive. One may ask how these men recognized Moses and Elijah?

[15] Son of Humankind: Search or Find Son of Man or Son of Humankind.

[16] Raised from among those dead: Or, KJV: risen again from the dead; MON: raised from the dead. The dead themselves are not to be raised until, a) the Parousia of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:23); and, b) the end of the Thousand Years (1 Corinthians 15:24; Revelation 20:5).

 

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Preceding

Matthew 16:24-28 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: A Disciple Must Disown Self

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Related

  1. “Listen to Him!”
  2. Matthew 17 – The Mount of Transfiguration
  3. Matthew 17:1-8 The Terrifying Transfiguration
  4. Tip of the Day, September 19 Lessons of the Transfiguration
  5. Monday Motivation: The Revealing of Glory
  6. On a high mountain
  7. On the Mountain
  8. What Happened On The Mountain; Learning Under Jesus
  9. Transfiguration
  10. The Transfiguration
  11. The Transfiguration the Feast of the Transfiguration,
  12. Here We Read About The Wonderful Transfiguration Of Jesus!
  13. The Transfiguration of Our Lord
  14. Divine Glory and Sacrificial Love
  15. God’s Voice is Heard at the Transfiguration
  16. The Glory of Jesus Christ is Revealed at the Transfiguration
  17. They Saw No One but Jesus Only
  18. Does the Father affirm Jesus the Messiah is his Son?
  19. She Reads Truth | Matthew 17 & 18
  20. Transfiguration – Divinization and the Transmigration of Souls
  21. Transfiguring Humanity—Reflections on the Transfiguration of Christ
  22. Moses, Elijah and Jesus (Plus Four) Meet on a Mountain: The Feast of the Transfiguration
  23. The Transfiguration of Christ
  24. The Transfiguration of the Lord
  25. 4. Witnessed the Transfiguration of Jesus
  26. Elijah & Elisha
  27. How Not to Be Terrified
  28. Acknowledge the Glory In You
  29. The Disciples’ Response to the Transfiguration

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