May 24

Text Matthew 17:4, 5

And Peter answered and said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, I will make three tabernacles here, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah." While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and behold, a voice out of the cloud, saying, "This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!" (NASB)

Sometimes we hear something so shocking that we react by saying in all earnestness, “You have got to be kidding!”  This news is so unbelievable, so unthinkable that we would not be surprised if the bearer said that he or she was joking or knowingly deceiving us.  The discovery that the news is genuine often is so sobering that it shocks us into silence for a few seconds.  We struggle to grasp what we have heard.

The magnitude of what Peter, James, and John heard was of that caliber.  Moses and Elijah were enormous, revered figures in Israelite history.  Moses had been Israel’s great law giver for about 1300 years.  There was no greater authority than Moses!  Elijah served Israel about 800 years before this moment.  He was considered “the dean of the prophetic age” as he tried to call Israel from idolatry to God.  He was so prominent that his reappearance would announce the Messiah’s coming!

To say that Jesus was equal to Moses and Elijah (thus building the three tabernacles) was astounding.  That idea was so radical that many Israelites would consider such thinking as blasphemy.  Israelite society thought no matter what Jesus did, never would he be equal to Moses and Elijah!

For God to say that Jesus was superior to Moses or Elijah was unbelievable!  If it was ever necessary to choose between Moses’ words and Jesus’ words, or between Elijah’s deeds and Jesus’ deeds, choose Jesus.  Moses and Elijah were God’s servants; Jesus is God’s beloved son.  As great as Moses and Elijah were, Jesus was superior.  And still is!

Suggestion for reflection: Would it astound you to know who Jesus is?  (Read Colossians 1:13-23.)

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