Moses and Elijan
May 20, 2021
Six days later Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up on a high mountain by themselves. And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him (Matthew 17:1-3).
What was the purpose of Moses and Elijah appearing with Jesus during His transfiguration? Of all the people God could have chosen to appear with Jesus in the transfiguration, Moses and Elijah served the unique role at this critical point in the life of Jesus.
Note first the underlying truth of their appearance with Jesus. Moses lived and died ca. 1,400 years before Jesus was born and Elijah lived ca. 850 years before Jesus was born, yet they both appear with Jesus on the Mt. of Transfiguration. What does that mean? Though dead, they still lived! There is life after death? Absolutely! While death is the end of physical life on earth, it is not the end of our human existence.
1 Samuel 28:5-19 tells us that King Saul requested a medium to cause Samuel to appear to Saul to reveal what would happen to him in his battle with the Philistines. Samuel had died a year earlier, but he still lived spiritually. Jesus spoke of a rich man and Lazarus who died physically but lived on spiritually - Lazarus in heaven and the rich man in hell (Luke 16:19-31). Scripture tells us that all humans will live in eternity after their physical life is over. Those who have trusted in Jesus Christ will live in glory, those who have not will live separated from God in hell.
Second, Luke 9:31 tells us that Moses and Elijah . . . were speaking of His (Jesus') departure which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. In other words, these two men came from glory to speak to Jesus about His impending death and resurrection. Moses had died a physical death on Mt. Nebo after having secured the release of the Jews from Egyptian slavery and leading them for 40 years through Sinai to the Promised Land. Elijah was 'translated' (he didn't die a normal, physical death) into heaven by a chariot of fire. They both knew what the experience of death was all about. They knew what human life beyond the grave was all about. They were there to comfort and counsel Jesus about His approaching death on the cross.
King David gives us counsel regarding our death when it is time for us to leave this life. He wrote (Psalm 23:4) Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. It is a joy to know that when we walk through that valley, we will not walk alone - the Lord will be with us to protect us in our transition from this life into the next.
"Thank You, Lord Jesus, for salvation and the promise of eternal life in You. Thank You that we will not be abandoned at the moment of our death, but You will be our companion through the portal that leads us to eternity, just as Moses and Elijah gave counsel and comfort to You as You faced death. May Your name be praised for Your grace and mercy toward us. Amen."