… a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” (Matthew 17:5 NIV)
Wouldn’t it have been a great privilege to be a part of Jesus’ inner circle of disciples? To be in the garden of Gethsemane to watch while Jesus prayed
(Matthew 26:37), to be present at the raising of Jairus’ daughter
(Mark 5:37) and here to witness Jesus, Moses and Elijah transfigured before your very eyes; what an honour! Or was it?
When I think of the disciples that made up this inner circle, Peter, James and John, I often think of them as naughty schoolboys: Peter, putting his foot in it by blurting things out before he had thought them through
(e.g. Matthew 16:22) and James and John quite liked the idea of calling down fire from heaven to destroy people
(Luke 9:54) and had the reputation of being
‘sons of thunder’ (Mark 3:17). Did Jesus keep this group of disciples near him in the way a teacher says to a naughty group in the class, ‘come and sit up the front near me so I can keep an eye on you’?
Nevertheless here they were with Jesus and these two great Old Testament figures. Moses and Elijah, recognised as the supreme representatives of the law and the prophets, were both connected to the coming Messiah. Moses said that a prophet like him would arise and should be listened to
(Deuteronomy 18:15) and there was the expectation that Elijah would return to herald the coming of the Lord
(Malachi 4:5). Now, in this incredible vision, both expectations were coming true. Both Moses and Elijah stand next to Jesus, as if pointing to him as the culmination of all that the law and prophets had pointed to. Instead of hearing Moses and Elijah speak they fade away and leave leave Jesus only. The forerunners have done their task. They can disappear into the background now that the principal figure is here.
The voice they hear is one from heaven that echoes Moses’ prophecy “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” This was a message these three disciples needed to hear: Listen to Jesus. Peter, when you say ‘Lord, they will not take you and kill you, never will this happen to you’, listen to Jesus when he says you are speaking humanly and don’t have the concern of God to save the whole world
(Matthew 16:21-23). James and John, when you want to call fire down from heaven, listen to Jesus when he rebukes such an attitude
This is the universal message for all Christians, whether we consider ourselves part of the in-crowd, or we have some ‘naughty’ tendencies, listen to Jesus, you’ll not regret it.
Father, among all the voices in the world may we hear the voice of Jesus and follow him all the days of our life.
Have a good week listening to the voice of Jesus.