Friday, February 19, 2010

An international Sunday school lesson commentary

For Sunday February 21, 2010

(Every Christian needs to have a mountaintop experience)
(Matthew 17:1-12)

In Matthew chapter 17, verses 1-12, the Apostle Matthew gives us a vivid description of his eye-witness account of JESUS’, now famous “Transfiguration”, which in all geographical likelihood, occurred on Mount Hermon, nearly two thousand years ago.
In the Greek, the word used for “affirmation” is “bebaiosis” (beb-ah-yo-sis), and it means “to be steadfast and sure in one’s assertions”. This event was intended by GOD to place “affirmation of JESUS’ majesty” on the hearts of men, for then, and, for all times. It was to be a mountaintop experience that could not soon be forgotten, particularly, by the three disciples, (Peter, James, And John) who were blessed enough to be called to be eye-witnesses.
GOD spoke from the clouds that day, to Peter, James, and John, to forever affirm that JESUS truly is HIS only begotten SON. And HE used the images of Moses and Elijah, “The Law” and “The Prophet”, two towering figures in Jewish history, each of whom, no man had seen die, and they were there, no doubt, to add to the affirming power of this divine event.
GOD already knew of the high GOD-like esteem that the Jews held for Moses and Elijah, and now, by showing them with JESUS and then removing them and leaving JESUS standing alone, it was HIS OWN special way of showing them that JESUS is the fulfillment of both, and in fact, is superior over all men, and that, “it is HE that they should listen to”. And so, as for Peter, James, and John, they, in a very special sense, had become witnesses to the Glory of CHRIST. And now, they had the story of that glory, embedded in their hearts, so that they may be able to go out and tell all men, that JESUS truly is the SON of the LIVING GOD.
We, as Christians, may never be blessed enough to be allowed to witness an event such as the one that occurred on a mountaintop overlooking Caesarea-philippi that day by Peter, James, and John. But certainly we can and will have an impacting experience that will change the course of our lives and convince us of our need for the salvation plan given to us by GOD, through CHRIST JESUS.
This chapter, in this book of Matthew, contains the last related miracles of our LORD and SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST during HIS three-year earthly ministry. It serves as final and definitive proof that JESUS is just who HE says HE is. And it is offered, not to the hordes of people who followed HIM around for selfish reasons, and nor is it offered to all of HIS hand-picked disciples, but rather, its offerings are only given to JESUS’ closest, most sincere followers, those whom HE knew HE could count on the most to continue GOD’s plan of salvation for the masses, even while under the distressful resistance and gravitational pull of this world.
This unique event of JESUS’ Transfiguration was restricted to those who already recognized HIM as GOD’s SON, in their hearts, not just with their lips. When we trust in CHRIST with our whole heart, we can expect to receive greater revelations of HIS presence and power, and greater help and blessings from HIS FATHER GOD, than those who have not completely given themselves over HIM.
On the way back down the mountain JESUS urged HIS three followers not to divulge what they had just witnessed until after HIS resurrection. HE knew that the disciples were already dealing with pride issues of wanting to hold the highest positions next to HIS in HIS coming Kingdom. And HE realized that the event that they had just witnessed could become a huge bragging point for the three of them. However, we can never become closer to GOD than anyone else simply through the things GOD has allowed us to see or do, along our Christian walk. Our calling is not to develop a settlement that encloses JESUS, but rather, our calling is to carry (our cross) “the message of a resurrected JESUS”, to the world.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

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