“THE EYE WITNESSES”                                         Pastor YAU

Matthew 17:1-8; Luke 9:28-36                            August 29, 2004

 

INTRODUCTION:  One of the local TV stations uses “EYE WITNESS NEWS” as the title for their news cast to denote the accuracy of their news.  It is a common practice in legal proceedings to have the accounts of those who have witnessed the events with their eyes and not just what they have heard with their ears.  The above Scripture quotation is an account of events in the life of Jesus witnessed by three of his disciples who had later testified in the Bible that they “had seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)

 

THE THREE WITNESSES: (17:1)

1)      In Deut. 19:25, God had specified in the Law the need of 2 or 3 witnesses to testify on important cases as to the facts of the events. The fact that there were three witnesses at the site of the transfiguration meets that requirement as to the truthfulness of the event.

2)      The three disciples who were selected to witness the event were the ones who had been closest to Jesus in His earthly ministry. They had heard, seen, participated and be part of His life in those years much closer and more intimate than the rest of the group. They had the integrity and respect of the other disciples.

3)      These were the most trusted disciples who would carry on the commission of spreading the gospel of salvation to the utter most part of the world. They were entrusted with the most important tasks for which Jesus came to this world for. They needed to see the glory of the Son of God in order to bear the witness of what they had seen and heard.

 

THE GLORY OF THE SON OF GOD: (17:2-3)

1)      Many times Jesus called God “My Father” to relate himself with the divine being of God and his divine nature but no one had ever seen that nature with his own eyes. God appeared to the Israelites in fire, wind and voice in the Old Testament as He appeared in the New Testament as light. But never before any human being had seen the glory of God in Jesus, as these three disciples did, to give proof on the divine natural of Jesus.

2)      The birth of Jesus was preceded by John the Baptist, the forerunner. The pending death of him was preceded by Moses and Elijah, two of the most revered figures in the Old Testament.  His departure was never a common event like ordinary people but an event God had planned and directed. Moses and Elijah were sent to plan the trip of His triumphant return to heaven.

 

HUMAN RESPONSE: (17:4)

1)      Overwhelmed by the sight and the sound surrounding Jesus and the two giants in the history of his ancestors, Peter, the often outspoken of the group, suggested that he will build three tents with his bare hands for Jesus and His two distinguished guests so they might just stay on that mountain top for a long, long time. Peter felt the unprecedented joy to be on that mountain top with Jesus and the other men of God. He said to Jesus: “It is so good to be here.”  I am sure anyone of us would have said the same thing if we were granted that opportunity.

2)      Peter, as one of the closest of Jesus, must had seen and heard all the troubles Jesus had with the Pharisees, the high-priests, the scribes and all others who had rejected Him as the Messiah.  People who had been fed, healed and received mercies from Jesus but only came for that purpose without any spiritual desire or any heart for the Kingdom of God. Three was nothing down there in the valley that might draw Peter or Jesus, in Peter’s opinion, to leave the mountain top and go down to Jerusalem to face the ugly.

3)      But the human plan was not in the plan of God. Peter just wanted to see and remain in the glory. He didn’t want Jesus to pay the price for that glory.  He wished with his heart that Jesus would agree with him so they don’t have to get back to the people for whom Jesus came.  Anytime we make decisions on human feelings, wisdom or preference, we risk blocking the plans of God.

 

DIVINE RESPONSE: (17:5)

God, in His infinite wisdom responded to the situation with very different words. He said three simple phrases which established the divine relationship between Him and Jesus.

1)      “This is my Son.”  This phrase verified the divine nature and his relationship with God. Never had any human being or religious founder, ever be certified by God as His Son. That is why John testified later in the beginning of his gospel writing that they had seen the glory of the Son of God.

2)      “Whom I love,” is the next phrase spoken by God. The life of Jesus, by doing and obeying the will of God, had earned the love and pleasure of God, His Father.

3)      “Listen to him,” the last phrase is a command given to the disciples. Jesus, as the Son of God, represents God on earth, deserves obedience of all men. It is the disobedience of the first man, Adam, that sin came into the life of man. But in this second Adam, Jesus, man is brought back to relationship with God.

 

CONCLUSION: (17:8)

       Personal experience with Jesus is the key to a strong personal faith in Him. It is not knowledge of the Bible, not membership in a church roll, not even the ceremony of baptism that links anyone with the Son of God, but by a personal faith in Him.  Those who have the privilege of seeing and experiencing the glory of God in Jesus have the responsibility of spreading the good news to others around them. No one should try to stay on the mountain top but should come down to the people and share with them his personal encounter with Jesus, the Savior of the world.