13 MAY (PREACHED 1770)
The true meaning of Scripture
‘And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elijah: who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem.’ Luke 9:30–31
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: 1 Corinthians 1:17–31
Why were there any witnesses summoned from the heavenly world? Why saints rather than angels? Why only two? And why these two, preferable to the cloud of witnesses who had lived upon earth? Some of these questions are perhaps best referred to the divine will. God does not see fit to acquaint us with all the reasons of his proceedings. We may safely rest in a persuasion that all his appointments are wise and expedient, and hereafter, perhaps, we shall clearly know what at present is not revealed. To give the disciples and to give us, from their testimony, a confirmation that there is a blessed state beyond the present life, two persons who had once been partakers of our afflictions and infirmities, now appeared with Jesus in glory. I know not that there is any stress to be laid upon the number two. These two were selected, and we may observe concerning Moses and Elijah, their resemblance. There had been a resemblance in several parts of their history, in which they had been particularly differenced from all other servants of God. Both had seen the glory of God in the Mount, both had been supernaturally sustained without food, forty days and nights. Both had been eminent instruments in their day. By Moses the law had been given—by Elijah the knowledge and practice of it had been restored in a very degenerate time. The Scriptures which were then known, were generally summarized by two sections—the law and the prophets. Moses the lawgiver and Elijah as a representative of the prophets appeared, to signify that all that was written in the law and the prophets terminated in Jesus. The Jews professed a great regard to the writings of Moses and the prophets, yet they rejected their testimony in favour of Christ. The disciples, by this interview, were convinced how little their professed teachers knew of the true meaning of the Scriptures.
FOR MEDITATION: ‘And he said unto them … all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures’ (Luke 24:44–45).
SERMON SERIES: ON THE TRANSFIGURATION, NO. 5 [1/3], LUKE 9:30–31