This is my beloved Son - Instead of ὁ αγαπητος, the beloved one, some MSS. and versions have εκλεκτος, the chosen one: and the Ethiopic translator, as in several other cases, to be sure of the true reading, retains both.
In whom I am well pleased, or have delighted - is added by some very ancient MSS. Perhaps this addition is taken from Matthew 17:5.
See an account of the transfiguration in Matthew 17:1-13, and Mark 9:2-13.
The fashion - The “appearance.”
Glistering - Shining like lightning - of a bright, dazzling whiteness. As Mark says, “more white than any fuller could make it.”
In glory - Of a glorious appearance. Of an appearance like that which the saints have in heaven.
His decease - literally, his “exit” or “departure.” The word translated here “decease” - that is, exit, or “going out” - is elsewhere used to denote death. See 2 Peter 1:15. Death is a departure or going out from this life. In “this” word there may be an allusion to the “departure” of the children of Israel from Egypt. As that was going out from “bondage,” pain, and humiliation, so death, to a saint, is but going forth from a land of captivity and thraldom to one of plenty and freedom; to the land of promise, the Canaan in the skies.
He should accomplish - Which was about to take place.
Heavy with sleep - Borne down with sleep - oppressed, overcome with sleep. It may seem remarkable that they should fall asleep on such an occasion; but we are to bear in mind that this may have been in the night, and that they were weary with the toils of the day. Besides, they did not “fall asleep” while the transfiguration lasted. While Jesus was praying, or perhaps after he closed, they fell asleep. “While” they were sleeping his countenance was changed, and Moses and Elias appeared. The first that “they” saw of it was after they awoke, having been probably awakened by the shining of the light around them.
Jesus was found alone - That is, the two men had left him. In respect to “them” he was alone.
This chapter is based on Matthew 17:1-8; Mark 9:2-8; Luke 9:28-36.
Evening is drawing on as Jesus calls to His side three of His disciples, Peter, James, and John, and leads them across the fields, and far up a rugged path, to a lonely mountainside. The Saviour and His disciples have spent the day in traveling and teaching, and the mountain climb adds to their weariness. Christ has lifted burdens from mind and body of many sufferers; He has sent the thrill of life through their enfeebled frames; but He also is compassed with humanity, and with His disciples He is wearied with the ascent. DA 419.1Read in context »
James and John, Christ's messengers, were greatly annoyed at the insult shown to their Lord. They were filled with indignation because He had been so rudely treated by the Samaritans whom He was honoring by His presence. They had recently been with Him on the mount of transfiguration, and had seen Him glorified by God, and honored by Moses and Elijah. This manifest dishonor on the part of the Samaritans, should not, they thought, be passed over without marked punishment. DA 487.1
Coming to Christ, they reported to Him the words of the people, telling Him that they had even refused to give Him a night's lodging. They thought that a grievous wrong had been done Him, and seeing Mount Carmel in the distance, where Elijah had slain the false prophets, they said, “Wilt Thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?” They were surprised to see that Jesus was pained by their words, and still more surprised as His rebuke fell upon their ears, “Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them.” And He went to another village. DA 487.2
It is no part of Christ's mission to compel men to receive Him. It is Satan, and men actuated by his spirit, that seek to compel the conscience. Under a pretense of zeal for righteousness, men who are confederate with evil angels bring suffering upon their fellow men, in order to convert them to their ideas of religion; but Christ is ever showing mercy, ever seeking to win by the revealing of His love. He can admit no rival in the soul, nor accept of partial service; but He desires only voluntary service, the willing surrender of the heart under the constraint of love. There can be no more conclusive evidence that we possess the spirit of Satan than the disposition to hurt and destroy those who do not appreciate our work, or who act contrary to our ideas. DA 487.3Read in context »
As the voice was heard, a light darted from the cloud, and encircled Christ, as if the arms of Infinite Power were thrown about Him like a wall of fire. The people beheld this scene with terror and amazement. No one dared to speak. With silent lips and bated breath all stood with eyes fixed upon Jesus. The testimony of the Father having been given, the cloud lifted, and scattered in the heavens. For the time the visible communion between the Father and the Son was ended. DA 625.1
“The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to Him.” But the inquiring Greeks saw the cloud, heard the voice, comprehended its meaning, and discerned Christ indeed; to them He was revealed as the Sent of God. DA 625.2
The voice of God had been heard at the baptism of Jesus at the beginning of His ministry, and again at His transfiguration on the mount. Now at the close of His ministry it was heard for the third time, by a larger number of persons, and under peculiar circumstances. Jesus had just spoken the most solemn truth regarding the condition of the Jews. He had made His last appeal, and pronounced their doom. Now God again set His seal to the mission of His Son. He recognized the One whom Israel had rejected. “This voice came not because of Me,” said Jesus, “but for your sakes.” It was the crowning evidence of His Messiahship, the signal from the Father that Jesus had spoken the truth, and was the Son of God. DA 625.3Read in context »
The faith of the disciples was greatly strengthened at the transfiguration, when they were permitted to behold Christ's glory and to hear the voice from heaven testifying to His divine character. God chose to give the followers of Jesus strong proof that He was the promised Messiah, that in their bitter sorrow and disappointment at His crucifixion, they would not entirely cast away their confidence. At the transfiguration the Lord sent Moses and Elijah to talk with Jesus concerning His sufferings and death. Instead of choosing angels to converse with His Son, God chose those who had themselves experienced the trials of earth. EW 162.1
Elijah had walked with God. His work had been painful and trying, for the Lord through him had reproved the sins of Israel. Elijah was a prophet of God; yet he was compelled to flee from place to place to save his life. His own nation hunted him like a wild beast that they might destroy him. But God translated Elijah. Angels bore him in glory and triumph to heaven. EW 162.2Read in context »