Can we dig yet deeper into the story on the mount of transfiguration… and draw out more exciting revelation? This digging deep is a follow up on all believers who claim to understand GRACE but due to their background in the Law, they refused to let ‘Moses and Elijah’ disappear from their individual ‘Grace’ life! Ready? Let’s go!
Recall that there were 3disciples who Jesus took along to the mountain namely: ‘Peter, James and John’. Now these 3disciples saw MOSES and ELIJAH appear to Jesus… We have established that Moses represents the LAW, Elijah represents the PROPHETS and Jesus represents GRACE!
We have also seen that when Peter suggested mixing the 3 messages as one Gospel, God replied him saying: ‘…This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; HEAR YE HIM…’ (Matt 17:5) Which implies that the only acceptable Gospel is GRACE….without any mixture with the Law or Prophets! Have you recalled all that? Now let’s dig deeper!
After God gave the verdict to the ‘3disciples’ to HEAR JESUS ONLY, these 3disciples (Peter, James and John) were place on a ‘test’ to see whether they understood what God told them on the mountain to hear Jesus only and not Moses or Elijah…
Now the story of the transfiguration was recorded in Matthew 17 and Luke 9. The account of Matthew shows us how Peter was ‘tested’…while the account of Luke shows us how James and John were tested! So did our brothers Peter, James and John do well in their tests? Let’s find out…
Few verses later in the same Matthew 17 after Jesus came down with the disciples from the mount of transfiguration, Peter was confronted by the tribute money collectors for the Jewish Temple:
‘…when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay the temple tax?…’ (Matt 17:24)
What is going on here? These people came to ask Peter if Jesus doesn’t obey the LAW OF MOSES that all Jewish male from 20 years and above should pay a certain amount (half a shekel) as the Temple Tax! (Exodus 30:13-16) In fact, the Bible describes this Temple tax in the book of 2 Chronicles as:
‘…the collection that MOSES the servant of God LAID UPON ISRAEL in the wilderness…’ (2 Chro 24:9)
I hope you are enjoying this already? What was Peter’s reply to the enquiry of the Temple tax collectors? ‘…Yes, he does…’ (Matt 17:25)
Peter was trying to defend the personality of Jesus by placing Him as a man who is subjected to the LAW OF MOSES! Now get this: Peter failed to remember that God said concerning Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration: ‘…This is my beloved SON, in whom I am well pleased; HEAR YE HIM…’! No wonder Jesus had to correct Peter immediately! The Bible said:
‘…And when Peter was come into the house, Jesus PREVENTED him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own SONS, or of STRANGERS?…’ (Matt 17:25)
I’m sure Peter was stunned by that question! He had just failed a test of the lecture he received on the Mount of Transfiguration! See the next verse:
‘…Peter saith unto him, OF STRANGERS. …Jesus saith unto him, THEN ARE THE SONS FREE…’ (Matt 17:26)
Oh…oh! In other words, Peter did not take into cognizance the SONSHIP of Jesus which made Him greater than the Temple itself! Peter failed to remember the statement: ‘…This is my beloved SON…’
Therefore, Peter is an example of believers today who after having a revelation of the Gospel, they still refuse to allow ‘Moses’ to disappear! Now, we have seen that of Peter, …So let’s quickly look at the performance of the remaining two disciples (James and John) shortly after they came down from the Mount of transfiguration.
Some verses later in the same Luke chapter 9 after Jesus came down with the disciples from the mount of transfiguration (vs 36), the Bible said:
‘…Jesus sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him…but THE SAMARITANS DID NOT RECEIVE HIM, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem…’ (Luke 9:51-52)
Let me give a brief explanation of what’s going on here. The Samaritans and the Jews were not best of friends. They hardly mingle with each other. Jesus was to go to Jerusalem, but He wanted to visit Samaria first…but the Samaritans did not receive Him…because they perceived He wasn’t coming to stay with them but will leave soonest for Jerusalem. Not too good, right? Now it’s time to see if JAMES and JOHN will remember what God told them on the mount of transfiguration! Since Peter failed his own test, let’s hope James and John will pass their own test! Follow carefully as we see the next verse:
‘…And when his disciples JAMES AND JOHN SAW THIS, they said, LORD, wilt thou that we COMMAND FIRE to come down from heaven, and CONSUME them, EVEN AS ELIAS DID?…’ (Luke 9:54)
Can you see what I’m seeing here? Same chapter! Can you just imagine! Elijah again!!! After God had said: ‘HEAR JESUS ONLY’!!!
What have you discovered so far? Peter refused to allow MOSES to disappear, ….while James and John refused to allow ELIJAH to disappear!!! Hear Jesus’ response to James and John:
‘…But Jesus turned, and REBUKED them, and said, YE KNOW NOT WHAT MANNER OF SPIRIT YE ARE OF…’ (Luke 9:55)
Wow! When Peter failed his own test, the Bible said: ‘…Jesus prevented him, saying, What THINKEST thou, Simon? (Matt 17:25) And when James and John failed their own test, the Bible said: ‘… Jesus turned, and rebuked them, and said, ye KNOW NOT what manner of spirit ye are of…’ (Luke 9:55)
This simply means the 3 disciples were not THINKING PROPERLY!!! Here this: if Jesus PREVENTED Peter from talking about the Law of Moses, then it means HEARING GRACE ONLY is a SERIOUS matter!!! Also, if Jesus REBUKED James and John for talking about applying ELIJAH to the Samaritans, then it means HEARING GRACE ONLY is a SERIOUS matter!!!
Many believers today claim to teach GRACE….but they still cleave to the ‘Law and the Prophets’! Now listen carefully: GRACE does NOT need the LAW (Moses) or the PROPHETS (Elijah) in order to function! Hear what the Bible says in the book of Romans:
‘…But now the righteousness of God without the law (GRACE) is manifested, BEING WITNESSED by the law (MOSES) and the prophets (ELIJAH)…’ (Romans 3:21)
Listen: The Law and the Prophets are only permitted to WITNESS that GRACE is the PRESENT TRUTH!
They are not to BALANCE Grace! They are to WITNESS to the world that GRACE is the GOSPEL! Hallelujah!
In conclusion: remember that immediately God gave the verdict to the disciples to Hear JESUS only…Moses and Elijah disappeared! (Mark 9:7-8)
But in the minds of the disciples… Peter refused to allow MOSES to disappear, ….while James and John refused to allow ELIJAH to disappear!!! I hope you will allow Moses and Elijah to ‘disappear’ in your minds…and let GRACE only rule your life totally!
The choice is yours!