“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” – John 12:24
“The last enemy to be destroyed is death...Death is swallowed up in victory.” – 1 Corinthians 15:26, 54
"The greater the sin, the greater the mercy, the deeper the death and the brighter the rebirth.” - C. S. Lewis
"This story...has the very taste of primary truth." - J. R. R. Tolkien

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Matthew 17:1-8: The Father and the Son, pt. 1

3.3.1 The Father and the Son

Matthew again uses idou to stress the awe and wonder of the Father’s revelation. The description of a “bright cloud” echoes back to the frequent Old Testament connection between clouds and the presence or glory of God, particularly the shekinah glory of God’s presence in the tabernacle and temple (cf. Exodus 16:10, 19:9, 24:16, 40:34-38; Deuteronomy 33:26; 1 Kings 8:11; Psalm 68:4, 104:3; Ezekiel 10:4). Again, we see continuation and culmination of the history of redemption. God is present again as the story approaches its climax.

As before in the account of Jesus’ baptism, here we see the love between the Father and the Son, and the connection between the man Jesus and God the Father which is so central to Jesus’ message. The approval of the Father is all the more significant in light of Jesus’ description of God as his Father, and his claim that he spoke and acted not on his own authority, but on the authority of the One who sent him (cf. Matthew 10:32-33, 10:40, 11:27; John 8:18, 29). The Father loves the Son and takes pleasure (“with whom I am well pleased”) in glorifying the Son and in the obedience of the Son, and the Son loves the Father and takes pleasure in obeying and glorifying the Father. Here we see a specific expression of the love, unity, and mutual glorification described so eloquently by Jesus in John 17: “Glorify your Son, that the Son may glorify you,” (v. 1) “Father, glorify me in your own presence,” (v. 5) “you, Father, are in me, and I in you” (v. 21). As we will see, the Father’s pleasure in the Son in Matthew 17 ultimately looks forward to the Father’s pleasure in the full obedience of his Son on the cross, which would bring the greatest glory to both the Father and the Son. The Father honors and glorifies the Son (cf. 2 Peter 1:17-18), knowing that he will obey faithfully unto death...

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