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Would We Recognize Jesus?

John Collins04/01/2012
Matthew 17 describes how Jesus and three others went up to Mount Transfiguration, where Jesus was changed before their very eyes.

It is interesting that only three of His disciples went up the mountain with Jesus, because such a great thing happened when they reached the top and Jesus was changed.  These must have been very faithful men in the eyes of Jesus.

After the change, His face shown as bright as the sun, and His clothes became as white as bright light.  Suddenly, Moses and Elijah were standing beside Jesus, talking with Him.

Peter, who had the keys to the kingdom said, "Lord, it is good that we are here!"  Peter offered to make three tents of worship, one for Jesus, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.  Peter was going to worship the prophets as well as Jesus, and God the Father cut him off in mid-sentence.

While Peter was still speaking, a bright cloud of light came over them.  God the Father started speaking to them at the same time Jesus was standing before Moses and Elijah, and said, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to Him."

It should be noted that some "Jesus Only" preachers have added words to the Bible here, "in whom I am well pleased to dwell in," changing the context of this passage by adding to the scripture.  The heavenly Father was pleased with his Son, and told Peter to listen to Jesus.

When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces.  They were terrified when God from heaven spoke.  Jesus came and touched them, telling them to arise and have no fear.  When they lifted their eyes, Moses, Elijah, and the cloud with the Heavenly Father was gone.  They saw Jesus only.

As they were travelling down the mountain, Jesus told them to tell no man what they had seen until after the Son of Man is raised from the dead.  The disciples were confused by this.  They asked Jesus, "Why do the scribes say that Elijah must first come?"  

Jesus responds to them that Elijah already came.  The word used in the original text is "erchomai", which means "first in succession."  He also said that Elijah does come.  The word in the original text is "ede," which means "now."  Jesus said that Elijah is the one that will restore all things, but that Elijah has already come and they did not recognize him.  To John, they did whatever they pleased.  In the same manner, the Son of Man will also suffer at their hands.

After this saying, the disciples knew that Jesus was speaking to them of John the Baptist.

As Christians, we should ask ourselves:  Would we be worthy to be one of the three that Jesus showed these things to?  If we saw Moses or Elijah come, would we worship them, or would our minds stay focused on Jesus?  Would we add words to our Bible as some of the end-time fire-and-brimstone preachers have done, to make our doctrines hold water?  Would we miss the fact that Elijah already came in John the Baptist as these three disciples did?  Would we even recognize Jesus when He comes back to earth to take us home with Him?