From Distraction to Hope [Part 2]
Are you ready for some good news?
Jesus fulfilled the Law and the Prophets. It means that you’re no longer waiting for the long-prophesied King – He has come. It means that you aren’t trying to be righteous under the law—Jesus is your righteousness.
Today’s Text: “He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were terrified. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and have no fear.” And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.” (Matthew 17:5–8, ESV)
The transfiguration (“metamorphosis” in Greek) revealed the glory of Christ to Peter, James and John as Jesus was en route to His foreordained death. Resplendent as the sun, Jesus shone gloriously amidst an appearance of Moses and Elijah. The text does not describe Moses and Elijah as transfigured; only the Messiah was glorified that day.
The symbolism is plain. To the Jewish people, Moses means “the Law” and Elijah means “the prophets.” Jesus was transfigured in the presence of the law and the prophets. Moses and Elijah, interestingly, had mountaintop moments during their respective ministries. Both had experienced fire on the mountaintop. Both had been used by God for glorious miracles. Both had been used to bring judgment against the enemies of the people of God.
In the midst of the terrifying transfiguration, the Father’s voice reverberated from the Heavens: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to Him.”
I imagine the Father’s emphasis should be rendered, “Listen to Him.” To listen to Him means to structure your whole being and manner of living upon Him.
When Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them,” (Matthew 5:17, ESV) He wasn’t saying that the law has no meaning or that the Prophets have no value. He meant that His life fulfilled the law that you couldn’t keep. He meant that His life fulfilled the promises of the prophets.
When God said, “Listen to Him,” He didn’t mean that there was no need for the disciples to ever read the Torah or the prophetic literature again. But they would never read the Torah and the Prophets the same again. Everything had changed. Moses and Elijah were shadows of the Christ. Once Jesus came, there was no need for shadows – the noonday sun had arrived.
After the Lord comforted the terrified disciples, they lifted up their eyes “saw no one but Jesus only.” Jesus only – the only answer. The only way. The only hope. He’s all you need. And that’s the Gospel!
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