Matthew 17:1-13 (ESV)
17 And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. 3 And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. 4 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.” 5 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.” 6 When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were terrified. 7 But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and have no fear.” 8 And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only. 9 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.” 10 And the disciples asked him, “Then why do the scribes say that first Elijah must come?” 11 He answered, “Elijah does come, and he will restore all things. 12 But I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but did to him whatever they pleased. So also the Son of Man will certainly suffer at their hands.” 13 Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them of John the Baptist.
Immediately before the chapter break, Jesus tells his disciples that some standing with him will not die before seeing the Son of Man coming in his kingdom. Six days after that statement, Jesus took Peter, James, and John up to a high mountain and was changed before them. His “face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light.” During those moments, the disciples present saw Jesus in his transfigured, heavenly state. Moses and Elijah appeared and talked with Jesus. In the minds of the Jewish people, Moses was the lawgiver, and Elijah represented the prophets. Having the two of them present signified that the whole of the Old Testament pointed to Jesus. Peter, possibly thinking it was time to fulfill the Feast of Tabernacles, suggested to Jesus that tents be made for the three men. While Peter was proposing this, the voice of God said from a cloud, “This is my beloved Son” and “Listen to him” (v. 5). Between these statements, the Father also said he was pleased with his Son. Jesus did everything according to the eternal purpose and plan of God.
When the disciples heard the Father’s voice, they were afraid and they fell down prostrate on the ground. They must have been absolutely overwhelmed at this point. But Jesus graciously placed his hand upon them and said, “Have no fear,” or “Do not be afraid.” He was with them, and it was time to get back to work. According to the voice of the Father, Peter, James and John, the other disciples, the people of Israel, and the entire world should listen to and follow the teaching of the Son of God. Do you ever wonder what God would tell you if he spoke directly to you? What kind of specific insight or guidance would he give you for life? God exhorted Peter, James, and John that the right thing to do was to listen to his Son. God has also spoken directly to us in and through Jesus. By this point, Peter, James, and John had given up everything to follow Jesus. Did they make the right choice? Yes! Let’s be encouraged, knowing that following Jesus is exactly what God desires all people, especially his children, to do. Even though you may run into many obstacles and difficulties in this life, God wants you to listen to and obey Jesus today.