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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: F.E. Marsh :: Readings 401-450 (The Death - Three)

F.E. Marsh :: 439. The Transfiguration

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LUKE 9:28-36

THE scene on the Mount of Transfiguration lived in the memory of Peter like a smouldering fire, for he referred to what he then saw years after, and spoke of it as a picture of the coming glory of Christ in His kingly majesty (2 Peter 1:16-18).

  1. The privileged men (Luke 9:28). As there are different circles among our friends, some more intimate than others, so there were different groups in relation to the disciples and Christ. There were, at least, three circles. The outer circle was composed of the seventy; the middle circle was composed of the twelve; and the inner circle was made up of Peter, James, and John. These three disciples saw the power of Christ when He raised the ruler’s daughter from the dead (Luke 8:51); they saw the agony of Christ in the garden of Gethsemane (Matt. 26:37); and they saw the glory of Christ on the mount. All believers may have the privileges of grace if they will. It is not a question of withholding on God’s part, it is a question of receiving on our part.
  2. The praying Christ (Luke 9:29). Luke makes special mention of Christ as a Man of prayer, and remarks that it was while Christ was praying that He was transfigured, as if the praying was the cause of the transformation. There is a moral transformation that the believer may know now (the same word rendered “transfigured” in Matt. 17:2, is translated “changed” in 2 Cor. 3:18), by prayerfully beholding the glory of the Lord; for as we prayerfully behold the glory of the Lord, we reflect His moral glory in our lives, even as the mirror reveals the face of the person who is looking into it.
  3. The pressing topic (Luke 9:30-31). The topic of the conversation that Christ had with Elijah and Moses was the “decease” that He should “accomplish at Jerusalem.” Moses represents the books which were written by him, namely, the Pentateuch, and Elijah represents the prophets; therefore, it is fitting that they should be with Christ and talk with Him about His atoning death, for the burden of their prophecies is the sacrificial death of Christ, as He Himself said when He journeyed to Emmaus with the two sorrowing disciples (Luke 24:27), and as He also stated to the disciples when He appeared to them in the upper room (Luke 24:44). There is no topic that is of such moment to heaven, of such benefit to earth, and of such dismay to hell, as the death of Christ.
  4. The picture of the coming glory. The transfiguration, as Peter, by the Holy Spirit, informs us, is a type of the coming glory and kingdom of Christ (2 Peter 1:16). The several persons named, are representative characters. Moses represents those believers who have fallen asleep in Christ, and will be raised when Christ comes (1 Thess. 4:14). Elijah, who was translated to heaven without dying (2 Kings 2:11), represents those believers who will be caught up to meet Christ in the air (1 Cor. 15:51), when He comes. Christ is the central figure, and speaks of the One who makes the believer’s glory, glory; and the three disciples on the mount, represent those who will see the glory of the heavenly saints, such as the Jews and the saved nations (2 Thess. 1:10; Rev. 21:).
  5. Peter and the rest of the disciples asleep (Luke 9:32). How much Peter and his companions lost of the glory through their sleepiness we are not told, but it is significantly said, “When they were awake they saw His glory.” They might have seen a good deal more if they had not gone to sleep. How much believers lose through soul-sleepiness! There are certain things to which we should always be awake, namely, to righteousness (1 Cor. 15:34), and to strength (Isaiah 52:1). To be awake to our privileges and responsibilities we are commanded (Rom. 13:11; Eph. 5:14).
  6. The proclamation of the Father (Luke 9:35). The proclamation is a commendation, and an exhortation. A proclamation of the worth of the Son, as the One who was specially beloved and delighted in, by the Father, and an exhortation for the disciples of Christ to “hear Him.”

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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