Jesus Came to Them
May 29, 2021
While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, "This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!" When the disciples heard this, they fell face down to the ground and were terrified. And Jesus came to them and touched them and said, "Get up, and do not be afraid." And lifting up their eyes, they saw no one except Jesus Himself alone (Matthew 17:5-8).
Jesus came to Peter, James, and John in the midst of their terror in being confronted by holy God. No doubt His coming to them was of great comfort to them, however, their attitude (especially that of Peter) was dramatically changed toward Jesus. No more would he question Jesus or stand in His way in fulfilling God’s plan for salvation. He would deny Jesus 3 times out of fear for his own life, he would be absent at the crucifixion out of shame and a broken heart, and he would question the resurrection of Christ out of bitterness and regret, but his attitude of love and respect for Jesus as the Christ would forever be changed.
For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, "This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased" - and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain (2 Peter 1:16-18). Peter wrote these words 30 years after he saw the Lord Jesus transfigured. Though he and James and John did not fully understand what they saw, what they saw changed their lives forever.
Jesus came to these three disciples to give comfort and assurance in the midst of their terror upon hearing the voice of God. He came to all of the disciples to give comfort and assurance in the midst of their terror and confusion and wonderment following our Lord’s crucifixion and resurrection. He came to Peter personally to give comfort and assurance in the midst of his guilt, shame, and brokenness. He comes to us in His Word, His church, and the Person of the Holy Spirit to give us comfort and assurance in the midst of our struggles with personal sin, a sinful and self-destructive world, a sinful and rebellious culture that is quickly embracing the attitude of anti-Christ.
James B. Coats wrote the lyrics to this old and favorite hymn of mine: “Living below, in this old sinful world, hardly a comfort can afford; striving alone to face temptation’s sword - where could I go but to the Lord? Where could I go, oh where could I go? Seeking a refuge for my soul? Needing a friend to help me in the end - where could I go but to the Lord?”
“Lord Jesus, I am grateful that in Your love and mercy You come to us to give comfort and assurance when we are terrified of the holy, bitter and ashamed over our sin, discouraged and frustrated with the world we live in. We can always go to You to find help in time of need, but greater still is the truth that You never leave us - never. You are always with us to give comfort and assurance. May Your name be honored and praised in my life forever, Amen.”