have no fear”
What must it have been like to be one of the disciples of Jesus! The unexpected was always happening – and sometimes it was way beyond human experience. The end of yesterday’s chapter 16 in Matthew has a strange statement by Jesus,
“Truly, I say unto you there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom”.
Today’s chapter shows Jesus was referring to an experience about to happen to Peter, James and John when he
“led them up a high mountain by themselves” (17:1).
They witnessed a foretaste of his coming glory, it is described as a “vision” in verse 9 and they were not to talk about it
“until the Son of Man is risen from the dead”.
What an experience! Jesus
“was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him” (verse 2).
Peter, in his second Epistle, makes the point that they
“were eye witnesses of his majesty. For when he received honour and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory,‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,’ we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain” (1:16-18).
Matthew tells us that the voice came from
“the bright cloud that overshadowed them …‘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” (verses 5,6).
Jesus was concerned for them, he
“came and touched them, saying,‘Rise and have no fear’” (verse 7).
This was an experienced etched into Peter’s mind, a foretaste that became a foundation block as his faith grew and he had to face many personal challenges in following in Christ’s footsteps.
We need to have these and other Scriptures etched into our minds to give us strength as God acts to bring extreme trouble to this world and we may encounter awesome experiences. As we come to chapter 24 we will read of our days and of one awesome experience that awaits true believers: for
“if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short” (verse 22).
May we have such faith that we will
“rise and have no fear”
“he will send out his angels … and they will gather his elect” (verse 31).