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an encouragement to his disciples to abide by him in his sorrows, by the prospect of the coming recompence. “ If
any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; and whosoever will lose his life for my sake, shall find it. For what is a man profitted if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul ? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man shall come in the glory of his Father, with his angels, and then shall he reward every man according to his works. Verily, I say unto you, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death till they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”
The action by which he shewed his superiority to all earthly things is the very next recorded, being, indeed, a fulfilment of the promise expressed in the last sentence, and no less than a representation of himself to three of his disciples under that glorious form in which he appears in the kingdom of God.
The Evangelists proceed thus with their account of this marvellous transaction; “ After six days, Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, up into an high mountain apart by themselves." These three had already been favoured by him above the rest, inasmuch as they had been selected by him to behold his miracle of raising to life the daughter of Jairus; and, subsequently, were called on, exclusively, to be witnesses of his passion”. Their zeal and their love for him, unquestionably, obtained for them this preference, and, upon this occasion in particular, Peter might be permitted to have his weakness removed, and his apprehension awakened, by the glorious sight which was to follow. For their Lord “ was transfigured before them ; his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light: and there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.” The subject of their conversation it is import
Luke viii. 51.
2 Matt. xxvi. 37.
ant that we should notice: “they spake to him of his decease, which he should accomplish at Jerusalem.” Now, we may remember, that Peter had taken offence at his Master because he had foretold his approaching death ; what, then, must have been now his thoughts, and what his opinion of the matter, when he heard it thus alluded to by Moses and Elias ? For although it appears that he and his companions were in much confusion, and finally fell asleep, yet thus much of their Lord's conversation with his heavenly visitants we must suppose they heard and understood; or else why should it have been recorded ! And as Moses and Elias were a fit representation, the one of the law which he gave, the other of the prophets, of whom he was the chief, certainly the communication could be delivered by no more efficient means than by those who thus could so authoritatively appeal to the types and prophecies by which the sacrifice of the Messiah had been foreshewn. But with all this to arouse and interest
them, such was the weakness of their mortal frames, that the disciples fell asleep, and they remained so till they were awakened to behold yet more of their Lord's glory, and to receive a yet more awful command. As they once more recovered their recollection, they saw Moses and Elias in the act of departing; then said Peter, in his confusion not knowing what he said, “ Jesus, master, it is good for us to be here, and let us make three tabernacles, one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.” We may believe that he spoke, as it were, mechanically, and without any proper degree of recollection, or of self-possession; but as far as he had any meaning, his words implied an opinion of equality between his Lord and the two divine persons who were with him. But the answer which he instantly received was calculated at once to put a stop to any such supposition. “While he thus spake, there came a cloud and overshadowed them, and they feared as they entered into the cloud. And there came a voice out the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, hear ye him.” Which is as much as to say,
“ Make no irreverent comparisons between my Son and my servants. Moses, indeed, gave the law; the prophets, indeed, of whom Elias is the chief, prophesied ; but the one only foreshadowed, and the other but gave witness to the Messiah. Both these are now superseded by the advent of that holy and long-expected Person. The law which was given by Moses must yield to that grace and truth which has come by Jesus Christ. He is now to be your instructor; he will illuminate your darkness, will open your understandings, and will guide you in all difficulties. He is
beloved Son in whom I am well pleased; hear
That this was the meaning of the voice, and that thus it was eventually understood by the disciples themselves, we have every reason to believe ; but, for the present, they were too much dismayed to be capable of making any comments on it.