Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters – one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.) (Mark 9:5-6)
Today’s passage is taken from the account of the Transfiguration of our Lord Jesus. He took Peter, James, and John, His inner circle, up on a mountain. There Jesus was transfigured, and His personal appearance was instantly changed into a heavenly and glorified form, giving His three disciples — and us — a glimpse of His divine glory and nature. Then, suddenly, Moses and Elijah appeared with the transfigured Christ. Why?
In order to begin to plumb the depths of this profound moment in Jesus’ earthly ministry, we need to understand a little something about these two great saints of God. Moses represents the Law; Elijah represents the Prophets. When we read in Mark 9:4 that they were “talking with Jesus,” we are to understand this majestic moment on the Mount of Transfiguration as a glorious portrait of the One who is the greater Moses and the greater Elijah: Jesus Christ, who fulfills both the Old Testament Law and the prophetic promises.
Peter was overwhelmed by this experience and, as he so often did, he spoke before thinking. This time out of fear, suggesting that he build three shelters (or “booths” — the tent-like shelters used for the celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles), one each for Moses, Elijah, and Jesus. The implication is that Peter saw all three men on the same level, and he desired to prolong the experience. But then a voice came from heaven to set things straight:
A cloud appeared and enveloped them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!” (Mark 9:7)
Any confusion in comparing these three figures was abruptly corrected by God the Father. The Law and the Prophets were to be understood as pointing to Jesus and finding their fulfillment in Him. And we know that the three disciples eventually understood the truth of the Transfiguration — that Jesus is the One and Only — because some thirty years later, Peter wrote:
We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain. (2 Peter 1:16-18).
The Transfiguration of Jesus demonstrated both audibly and visibly that Jesus is the Son of God; and as such, He is the fulfillment of both the Law and the Prophets. If we desire to live a life of meaning, significance, and purpose, we must listen to Jesus. Listen to Him!
Is this the confession of your life? Are you listening to the Voice of Truth . . . the One and Only? Peter had one thing exactly right: It is good for us to be with the Lord. When we are sitting at the feet of Jesus, we have chosen what is best.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!