Summary of passage: Jesus took Peter, James, and John with him up on a mountain where he was transfigured before them. Moses and Elijah appeared, talking with Jesus. Peter offered to build each a shelter. God enveloped them in a cloud and said “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” The disciples were terrified. Moses and Elijah had disappeared. Only Jesus remained.
Jesus told them as they walked down the mountain to not reveal what they had seen to anyone until after his resurrection. Confused as usual, the disciples wonder why does the Law say then that Elijah comes first. Jesus tells them that Elijah has already come and gone but no one recognized him. It was John the Baptist.
6a) Because Moses was the first great lawgiver and as such he is representing the Law and Elijah was the first great prophet and as such he is representing the Prophets. These two are chosen to show how Jesus now supercedes them.
b) “They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem.” Basically, the resurrection and what it meant.
c) First, that Jesus was meant to suffer and die for all of mankind. Two, that Jesus wouldn’t die. He’d always be living with the Father in heaven as Moses and Elijah would.
7a) Well, we learn from Mark and Luke that Peter had no idea what he was saying. But the overall effect was the suggestion put Jesus on an equal level as Elijah and Moses.
b) Peter was rebuked by God and interrupted because Jesus is above Elijah and Moses not equal. God had to make that very clear as exhibited by Peter he obviously needed that clarification.
c) Listen to Jesus was God’s command. This taught us that: 1) Jesus was God’s Son (Psalm 2:7). 2) God loves Jesus 3) God is well pleased with Jesus (Matthew 12:18 which quotes Isaiah 41:1-4). 4) Him you shall hear (Deuteronomy 18:15) and he will proclaim justice to the nations (Isaiah 42:1).
[Note: I broke up the love and well pleased which I would imagine is probably put together by BSF but I thought that fact God loves Jesus was very significant since the greatest commandment given to us according to Jesus in Matthew 22:37-38 is to "love the Lord your God will all your heart" and your neighbor. Love as God loves.]
8a) He came “before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes” or before Jesus.
b) He preached the truth, told others to repent and turn to the Lord. He was thrown in jail for his teachings, beaten and tortured, and eventually died for his beliefs. The same for Jesus.
c) Jesus says Elijah “will restore all things”, future tense. This refers to the fact that Jesus has not died yet so people have not yet been restored to God.
Conclusions and End Notes: I covered a lot of this analysis yesterday.
The disciples are confused because they know Elijah is prophesied to come first (Malachi 4:5) which they believe but they just saw Elijah standing next to Jesus on the mountain and Jesus came first. Hence, the background to their perplexity.
Scholars say the Malachi passage better refers to the Two Witnesses in Revelation (Revelation 11:3-13) and Jesus’ Second Coming.
Another example of how God knows more than us mere humans and despite our best efforts to figure out God’s Word, mysteries still remain.