“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

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Matthew 17:1-8: The Father and the Son, pt. 2

...The words spoken by the Father here, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” are identical to the Father’s words in Matthew 3:17 during Jesus’ baptism. There Jesus’ public ministry was initiated with the approval of the Father; here again the Father approves of his beloved Son, this time urging the disciples to listen to him. This approval and command is even more significant in light of the events in chapter 16. In answer to Jesus’ question “who do you say I am” (16:15), Peter had declared “you are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” To this Jesus had responded, “flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.” Matthew writes that just “six days” later, the Father himself actually spoke from heaven in approval of Jesus’ words. Thus, the Father’s declaration, which is the center of this passage, confirms Jesus’ identity as the beloved Son of God (Davies and Allison 706).

Furthermore, Christ’s suffering and death, as described in the preceding chapter (16:21), sheds light on the Father’s expression of approval and love. Blomberg writes, “God’s confirmation proves even more crucial because the notion of a suffering Messiah seemed so incongruous” (Blomberg 264); as the cross draws nearer, the presence and approval of the Father does not diminish but increase. The Father’s words echo Psalm 2:7, “The LORD said to me, ‘You are my Son; today I have begotten you,’” and Isaiah 42:1, “Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights” (Carson 386). It is very likely that Matthew is at least alluding to Isaiah, considering that he quoted the passage in 12:18-21 as prophecy fulfilled in Christ. Davies and Allison point out that Matthew probably modified Mark’s account in order to make this more prominent (Davies and Allison 702). Thus, we see all the more Jesus’ status as both royal Messiah and suffering servant; he is the delight of the Father, who was pleased to crush him and pleased to raise him (cf. Isaiah 53:10-12)...

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