Devotionals Archive

Daybreak: Matthew 16:27 through 17:21

Mar 17, 2021

“And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, and was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.” (Matthew 17:1-2)

As we huddled under our schoolroom tables, I specifically remember watching the windows — they looked as though vertical waves were traveling through them. Someone near me called out God’s name, and I wondered if she was praying or cursing. We were experiencing an earthquake. Although it took place over thirty years ago, the details are clear in my mind.

Some people know exactly where they were when John F. Kennedy, President of the United States, was shot. Those who experienced 9/11 have only to close their eyes to relive the trauma. All of us have memorable events. Maybe yours is the day your husband proposed or the day your child was born. Even if those events took place years ago, we can see the scenes in sharp detail in our mind’s eye. 

Imagine the thrill that Peter, James, and John must have felt as they heard the voice of the Father and viewed the transfigured Christ. These disciples had seen Jesus perform remarkable miracles, but until that day on the mountain, they had only seen Jesus in His mortal body. At this time, however, these three disciples received a glimpse of His divine glory. Not only did they see Jesus’ face shine as the sun and His clothes turn white as light, but they also saw Moses and Elijah and heard the thundering voice of God the Father. What an overpowering display of the divinity of Christ! What a memorable day!

None of us have actually seen Jesus in His glory as Peter, James, and John did. Yet, we all need that moment of divine revelation when God the Father, through the Holy Spirit, witnesses to our souls concerning Jesus, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” When that moment occurs, our hearts are transformed. We can experience the glory of God radiating through our lives. 


The scene on the Mount of Transfiguration took place only a week after the confession of Peter, “Thou are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” There is no account that Jesus and His disciples had yet returned from Caesarea Philippi. It is possible, therefore, that Jesus and the three disciples ascended Mount Hermon, a nearby peak that was higher than any of the other mountains of Israel.

Many Bible scholars say that the presence of Moses and Elijah (who the disciples saw and recognized) was significant because Moses represented the Law and Elijah represented the prophets. The Gospel of Luke tells us that these two men talked to Jesus about His death at Jerusalem (Luke 9:31). It was significant that they should appear, for Jesus came to fulfill the “law and the prophets.” Thus Moses and Elijah substantiated His deity, His mission, His teachings, His good works, His death and resurrection. 

Peter, in his impetuous way, spoke up. The Jewish people of that day believed the Messiah would immediately set up His Kingdom, and deliver them out of the hand of their enemies. So perhaps Peter thought it would be good for Moses and Elijah to tarry with Jesus. When God’s voice spoke out of the cloud, the disciples fell on their faces and were extremely afraid. God gave His full affirmation and sanction to the Son, “Hear ye him.”

When Jesus touched the disciples, they saw that Moses and Elijah had vanished, illustrating how Jesus himself would soon fulfill the Law and the prophets. With the coming of Jesus, the Old Covenant, made at Mount Sinai, passed away, and the New Covenant, sealed on Mount Calvary, was ushered in. 

In verses 11 and 12, Jesus’ mention that “Elias is come already” referred to John the Baptist. 

Note that Matthew followed the account of the transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-13) with an account of the disciples’ inability to heal a devil-possessed boy (Matthew 17:14-21). Matthew pointed out a contrast between divine revelation and human unbelief. Jesus let His disciples know that the faith to do such works for God required prayer and fasting. Those who possess such faith do not give up when their prayers are not answered immediately. The power to perform the miracles comes from God, but faith is necessary. Some situations require extra dependence on God. 

Amplified Outline

(Hannah’s Bible Outlines – Used by permission per WORDsearch)
V.   Instructions of the King in light of His opposition
      A.   Disclosures in light of His opposition
            3.   The King’s kingdom (16:27—17:21)
                  a.   The King’s kingdom promised (16:27-28)
                  b.   The King’s kingdom in miniature (17:1-13)
                  c.   The King’s kingdom postponed by unbelief (17:14-21)

A Closer Look

  1. What were Jesus’ instructions to His disciples as they began to descend the mountain?
  2. Why do you suppose He told them that?
  3. How did God reveal to you that Jesus was His beloved Son? What impact has this revelation had on your life?


Has Christ, the Son of God, entered into your heart? If so, that was a memorable day in your life. Now, let His glory shine through you!

Reference Materials