“And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. And Peter said to Jesus, ‘Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.’ 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.’” (Matthew 17:1-7)
In “Here is Our God” Nancy Lee DeMoss writes, “What took place on the Mount of Transfiguration may be the most important event between Jesus’s birth and his death and resurrection…One of the first things that strikes me about this event is the number of different voices speaking. What a tragedy it would have been if the disciples had walked away from this mountaintop experience focusing on Peter’s voice, or on the words of Moses and Elijah, rather than on that ringing declaration of the Father from the cloud, shining the spotlight on his Son. “Listen to him,” the Father said.” (1)
The transfiguration of Christ is a theophany in which Jesus appeared and spoke to Peter, James, and John in a glorified state. He only spoke five words to them while transfigured: “Rise, and have no fear.” God’s words are always carefully chosen and purposeful. Some commentators believe that Peter was flustered, babbling about making a shelter for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah before God spoke. According to James Boice, this would have been the perfect time for Peter to stay silent since his comment seems to put Moses and Elijah on the same footing as the Son of God. (2) If Peter was shaken by Jesus Christ’s brilliant appearance, the presence of the great lawgiver, Moses, and the renowned prophet, Elijah, then hearing the voice of the Father would have sent him over the edge with holy fear. But here is Jesus, the Son of God, comforting Peter, James, and John, who were commanded to “listen to him.”
Today in church we will hear many voices—our pastor, the choir, the congregation, worship leaders, friends, and our own. These human voices are easy to hear and hopefully will delight us with encouragement, truth, music, and love. Hearing God’s voice will take more effort; we will need to prepare our hearts and minds and open our spiritual ears as he speaks to us through his Word. Which voice will you focus on in church today?
(1) DeMoss, Nancy Lee, Chapter 5, “Here Is Our God,” by Nielson, Kathryn and Carson, D.A., iBook
(2) Boice, James Montgomery, Boice Expositional Commentary Series, Baker Books, 1998, online version, Matthew, Chapter 38