2053 High School Road, Hueytown, AL 35023  256-431-4551

The Mountain Majesty

The hike that changed the lives of three men. It would be a mountaintop moment unlike any other and a walk to remember for the rest of their lives. As impressive as the sight would be, Jesus would warn the three, Peter, James and John, not to tell anyone what they had seen and heard.
Background: Matthew 16:13 “When Jesus came into the district of Caesarea of Philippi…” It was in this village that Jesus asked His disciples two questions (remember the incident about the leaven of the Pharisees and Herod?)
“Who do people say that I am…?”
“Who do you say that I am…?”
Peter’s gold star! ‘Atta boy!

Mountain Majesty

Introduction:

  1. The hike that changed the lives of three men.  It would be a mountaintop moment unlike any other and a walk to remember for the rest of their lives.  As impressive as the sight would be, Jesus would warn the three, Peter, James and John, not to tell anyone what they had seen and heard.
  2. Background: Matthew 16:13 “When Jesus came into the district of Caesarea of Philippi…”  It was in this village that Jesus asked His disciples two questions (remember the incident about the leaven of the Pharisees and Herod?)
    1. “Who do people say that I am…?”
    2. “Who do you say that I am…?”
    3. Peter’s gold star!  ‘Atta boy!
  1. You are the Christ…, but
    1. Matthew 16:16-Neither Peter or the other apostles understood what the true Messiah meant.  In their minds, like the majority of the people, they thought of the Messiah in terms of King David coming to liberate Israel from the Romans.  
      1. See men like trees (Mark 8:24)
      2. Concerned about the fish and the bread (Mark 8:15)
      3. Not enough faith to cast out the demons (Mark 9:29)
      4. Enough faith to heal the sick, but not enough faith to feed people (Mark 6:6-13)
      5. They had a long way to go in understanding the plan of God.
    2. “From that time…” (Matthew 16:21)  Knowing that He must prepare them for what was to come, Jesus presented them with four musts that had to occur before God’s plan would be complete.  
      1. He must…go to Jerusalem.  It was imperative that he walk into the lion’s den of hostility and hypocrisy waiting for Him in the capital.
      2. He must…suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes.  The ones who should have had the clearest understanding of God’s prophetic Word would be the ones who would inflict the greatest pain and suffering on the awaited Messiah.
      3. He must…be killed.  The suffering would culminate in the murder on the cross.
      4. He must…be raised.  As He foretold His death, He also foretold His resurrection.  
    3. “God forbid!”  (Matthew 16:22)
      1. It is clear where Peter’s thinking was.  It definitely wasn’t on the spiritual.
      2. Peter was the only one gutsy enough to take Jesus aside, stand up to Him, and REBUKE Him and say, “There is no way I’m going to allow You to do such a thing.  Nope, no way, no how!”  Maybe Peter was expecting another gold star.
      3. Instead he got a, “Get thee behind Me, Satan!”  What Peter didn’t understand was:
        1. No crown, no glory.
        2. No glory, no resurrection for anyone!
        3. With Peter or without Peter, God’s plan would be accomplished!
      4. One has to understand that these men had left everything for Jesus, and Jesus had reminded them the cost of discipleship (Matthew 16:24ff).  So Jesus gave them a week to think things over.
  2. The mountain (Matthew 17:1)
    1. As was the custom of Jesus, He appreciated nature
      1. Prayed alone in the wilderness
      2. In a boat secluded from the people
      3. On a mountain
      4. Jesus and Peter, James and John went on a hike
        1. Not a nature walk in a state park with marked trails
        2. It is believed that Jesus took them up to Mt. Hermon (9232 ft.), snow capped, up to the top and down in one day!  This was a mountain climb they would remember for ever.  
    2. They needed a shot in the arm!
      1. Peter was confident in who Jesus was, but not confident in the mission (God forbid it!)  In their minds a dead Messiah equaled a failed Messiah.  They didn’t understand.  
      2. The mountain scene would definitely reaffirm the claims Jesus made about Himself.
      3. They would never forget what they saw that day!  (2 Peter 1:16-18)
  3. Worship His Majesty!
    1. The transfiguration (Matthew 17:2)  For more than 30 years Jesus dwelt in human form (John 1:14), and now He was set ablaze in brilliant white.  Matthew, Mark and Luke struggle to express what He looked like:
      1. His face shone like the sun, and His garments became while as light.” (Matthew 17:2)
      2. His garments became radiant and exceedingly white as no launderer on earth can whiten them.  (Mark 9:3)
      3. His clothing became with and gleaming.” (Luke 9:29)
      4. What human words can describe the indescribable?  Standing before them was the supernatural, the deity, the Son of God!
    2. Testimony of the prophets (Matthew 17:3)
      1. As the disciples looked on, two Old Testament great appeared with Christ and conversed with Him.  Two questions should come to mind?
        1. Why these two men?  Of all the greats of the Old Testament (Hebrews 11), why these two?
          1. Moses understood what it meant to give up a throne to take on a life of a servant, to communicate God’s Law, and the frustrations of leading a stubborn people bent on his demise.
          2. Elijah was the great law defender, one who personified zeal for God, was a miracle worker, dedicated to save a wayward people and turn them back to Jehovah.
          3. Jesus’ mission was the same as Moses and Elijah.
        2. What did they talk about?  (Luke 9:31) They discussed what Peter and the rest did not understand and could not accept, Jesus’ impending death.
      2. If Moses and Elijah could accept Jesus’ mission and approaching death as part of God’s plan, so must Peter, James, and John-as well as the others.
    3. Peter: Open mouth insert foot (Matthew 17:4)
      1. “Lord, it is good that we are here…”
      2. “If You want, I will make three tabernacles here, one for You, one for Elijah and one for Moses.”
      3. First, these spirit beings did not need shelter.
      4. Secondly, Peter was making the same mistake he and the Pharisee had made earlier, equating Jesus to one of the prophets (Matthew 16:14, and Peter had to be rebuked – Matthew 16:23)
    4. God the Father Intervenes (Matthew 17:5) “While he was still speaking…”  
      1. God’s intervention delivered three directives:
        1. “This is My beloved Son…”  Moses and Elijah were two of God’s greatest servants and Israel’s greatest leaders, BUT THAT’S ALL THEY WERE!  They were not even close to being equal to Christ.  This is the main reason why the Bible condemns religious division and denominationalism, Christ is not divided, nor does He share His tabernacle with any man-made religion.
        2. “with whom I am well-pleased…”  While the idea of Jesus being the suffering Servant and dying on the cross might sound absurd to Peter and the rest of the gang, God said, “I am well pleased with Him.  It is My purpose and, therefore it is His purpose.”
        3. “listen to Him…”  If My Son says He is going to Jerusalem and suffer, die and then resurrect on the third day, BELIEVE IT AND ACCEPT IT!
      2. What was their response?  At the sound of God’s voice they became so terrified that they fell to their knees and fell on their faces.  
      3. What was Jesus’ response? (Matthew 17:7) He did what a loving Savior would do and what a big brother would do (Hebrews 2:11; Romans 8:29) He touched them tenderly and said to them, “Get up, and don’t be afraid.”
        1. As if He were saying, “I’ve been to the Father, I know the Father, there is no need to be afraid.”
      4. On the way down the mountain Jesus made one request, “tell no one of what you saw and heard, until the resurrection.”  (Matthew 17:8-9; cf. Luke 9:36)

Conclusion-Applications:

  1. Christ is not equal to any one or any religion, He is unique and He died for His church (Matthew 16:18).
  2. The authority of Jesus in a world of religious confusion
  3. The glory of Jesus in fulfilling God’s plan for saving man
  4. Reminded of the cost of discipleship (Matthew 16:24-28)