“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

Monday, November 24, 2008

Matthew 17:1-8: A Foretaste of Glory, pt. 2

...Following this introductory sentence, we are given a description of Jesus’ transformation. The verb translated as “transfigured” is metamorphoō. Paul uses it in 2 Corinthians 3:18, where those with “unveiled faces” behold the glory of the Lord and are changed into this likeness; in this passage, Paul contrasts the “veiled glory” of Moses with that of Christ. Davies and Allison write, “it seems plausible that metamorphoō had, in Jewish and/or Christian tradition, come to be used of the story in Exodus 34” (Davies and Allison 695). If this is true, it is one of several connections between this text and descriptions in Exodus (see section 3.2). D. A. Carson writes that this verb “suggests a change of inmost nature that may be outwardly visible…or quite invisible” (Carson 385). That the verb is passive suggests that the action of transfiguring is to be attributed to God the Father. Moreover, according to Carson, “That Jesus was transfigured “before them” implies that it was largely for their sakes…for the disciples it was revelatory…they were privileged to glimpse something of his preincarnate glory…and anticipate his coming exaltation” (Carson 385). Following Jesus’ insistence in chapter 16 that he would suffer and die and that each of those who would follow him must “take up his cross,” this event conveys a powerful sense of hope, both for the disciples and for Matthew’s readers, even as Jesus moves towards his sufferings. Peter attests to this effect in his relation of the experience in his second epistle, where he writes that the Gospel did not consist of “cleverly invented stories,” but was taught by the actual “eyewitnesses of his majesty” (2 Peter 1:16). He writes, “For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.’ We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain” (vv. 17-18)...

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