Matthew 17:1-9 - 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." And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only. And as they were coming down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, "Tell no one the vision, until the Son of Man is raised from the dead."
What an amazing and glorious day that was! Imagine seeing Jesus transformed, with Moses and Elijah visiting. It was a day they would remember forever—a day Peter, at least wanted to last forever, with his talk of building a tent for them to stay in.
But it didn't last forever—wasn't meant to last forever, maybe in part because human beings are not capable of handling that sort of glory. Look at their reaction when God the Father spoke from heaven! They fell facedown in terror. And God wasn't even saying anything scary. His presence was just that overwhelming.
It's a problem for us, isn't it? Caught between love and fear, between a desire for God and a level of awe that terrifies us—how are we going to cope? No wonder even the pagan myths said that people could not look on divine glory and survive. We're not built for it.
But God knows this—after all, He is our Creator!—and He supplied the answer for our need before we even felt it. Matthew writes, "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."
Jesus only is what we need. We can't handle God's unfiltered glory, but when God comes into the world as a human baby, wearing our flesh and blood—we can handle that! We can come near to Him without fear. We can see how God lives and acts among us, and understand His heart. We can watch Jesus treat poor people with respect—comfort the grieving—heal the sick—be patient with the doubting, confused disciples. We can see God's love on display as Jesus walks among us—as He suffers and dies on the cross, all for our sake. We can see His power as He rises from the dead—and rejoice in His generosity, as He gives that same everlasting life to everyone who trusts in Him.
Do you want to know what God is like? Look at Jesus. Jesus only is exactly what we need.
WE PRAY: Dear Father, thank You for sending Your Son! Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. When you are nervous like Peter, how do you behave?
2. How do you think the disciples recognized Moses and Elijah?
3. What is one specific thing you know about God by watching Jesus?
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