Last week I preached on the Transfiguration of Jesus, from Matthew 17:1-13. This is a marvelous passage because it is eyewitness testimony to Jesus' divine glory (2 Peter 1:16-18). Twice God the Father gave outward confirmation of the majestic glory of Jesus: The first time was just after Jesus' baptism, when Jesus willingly submitted to undergo the role of the Suffering Servant on our behalf (Matt 3:16-17). This second occasion occurred six days after Jesus had declared to His disciples that "He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day" (Matthew 16:21). Both these occasions were expressions of God's delight in His Son, who was willing to suffer and die on our behalf, for our sins.
As Jesus prayed upon the mountain, His face shone like the sun and His clothes became as white as the light. Not only did God the Father grant this outward manifestation of Jesus' divine glory, but He also spoke from heaven, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!" There are three allusions to the Old Testament here: 1. "This is my Son" alludes to Psalm 2:7, which speaks of the eternal generation of the Son of God, and God's testimony to His Son. 2. "My beloved ... in whom I am well pleased" alludes to Isaiah 42:1, where God presented His Son as the Suffering Servant who would redeem his people and save the Gentiles. 3. "Hear Him" alludes to Deuteronomy 18:15-19 (cf. Acts 3:22) where God promised a prophet like Moses to whom we must listen or be cut off from God's people (and be eternally lost).
On this latter occasion, God had spoken from heaven on Mount Sinai, but the people had been terrified of God's voice and asked that Moses speak to them rather than God. The Lord promised that He would raise up one from among their brethren who would speak God's words to them. In Jesus, this prophecy is perfectly fulfilled: Jesus is the Eternal Word of God, God become flesh, made like one of us, our kinsman redeemer. He is Emmanuel, God with us. What a wonder that God should become man - our brother, our Saviour and our friend. Let us never forget however, that He is still our Lord and our God. "He is God from everlasting, and to everlasting God." Let us never cease to marvel that "the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth" (John 1:14).
Behold the Great Creator makes
Himself a house of clay:
a robe of human flesh He takes
which He will wear for aye.
Hark, hark, the wise eternal Word
like a weak infant cries!
In form of servant is the Lord,
and God in cradle lies.
Join then, all hearts that are not stone,
and all our voices prove,
to celebrate this Holy One,
the God of peace and love.