9 MARCH (PREACHED 1770)
Strengthened for trials
‘And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart.’ Matthew 17:1
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Luke 22:39–53
If the reasons are enquired why our Lord was transfigured upon the mount, though we must not expect by searching to find out his work to perfection, we may humbly suppose some of the reasons to be: to confirm the disciples’ faith and that they might afterwards declare themselves eyewitnesses of his glory (2 Peter 1:16–17); to exhibit a proof to them of the realities of the unseen world, against the cavils of Sadducees and infidels; to give them a pattern of that glory in which his people shall be raised at the last day (Philippians 3:21). We may observe the time:
(i) It was soon after Peter’s noble confession (Matthew 16:16). Thus the Lord rewards his people’s faith with farther discoveries, as he promised to Nathaniel (John 1:50). Surely if we could give him more of the honour due to his name, by steadfast believing, he would show us more of his glory. Let us pray for more faith, that we may have more comfort.
(ii) It was soon after he had so expressly spoken of his sufferings, which Peter could not bear only to hear of, and which, when they came on him, put all his disciples to a stand. This was therefore a seasonable and gracious revelation to prepare and strengthen them for their approaching trial. And thus he is often pleased to confirm and strengthen his people for an hour of trouble. And when he is pleased to favour them with particular nearness and sweetness and to shine remarkably upon their souls, they may ordinarily expect a trial is at hand.
(iii) It was soon after he had been enforcing the necessity of self-denial (Matthew 16:24). This may teach us that the knowledge of Christ in his power, glory and love, is the great means to make self-denial necessary and pleasant.
FOR MEDITATION: ‘And he … kneeled down, and prayed, saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground’ (Luke 22:41–44).
SERMON SERIES: ON THE TRANSFIGURATION, NO. 1 [2/4]