Trusting Him (Matthew 17:22-23)

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“When they came together in Galilee, he said to them, “The Son of Man is  going to be  betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised to life.” And the disciples were filled with grief.”

This is the second time that we read of Jesus telling His disciples of His destiny. The first time was just before the Transfiguration. This is shortly after. The first time He mentioned it, “Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law.” This time He noted that He will be betrayed “into the hands of men.” 

The widening of the circle is deliberate. Jesus wants His disciples to realize that it is not only their own people group who are at the center of His suffering. It is not just one generation of Jewish people (who happened to live in Israel at the time) who are responsible for His betray, suffering, and death. It is all peoples, living everywhere in every generation. Jesus comes not to die for the sin of one, but for the sin of all. Likewise, it is not just the Jewish people who will celebrate His resurrection – but rather, all who look to Jesus as their Christ. 

This news fills the disciples with grief. But it is not grief that their own people are those who cause Jesus to suffer. Nor is it that Jesus will suffer for all peoples. Rather, it is grief that He keeps speaking about something that still doesn’t make any sense to them. Luke puts it much more bluntly, “But they did not understand what this meant. It was hidden from them, so that they did not grasp it, and they were afraid to ask him about it.” 

The disciples were grieved that they collectively were not able to grasp what He was telling them. The whole idea of Jesus being ‘handed over’ didn’t make any sense. Why would it? The Jesus they knew had walked through a crowd that had tried to throw Him down a cliff (see Luke 4:28-30). The Jesus they knew had simply walked away from the Pharisees who were seeking His blood (see Matthew 12:14-15). He had very courageously confronted them repeatedly (see Matthew 12:24-27). He knew when to withdraw (see Matthew 14:12-13) and when to speak out (see Matthew 15). So why would the Jesus they knew – the Jesus who revealed Himself to them as God’s Son – why would this Jesus allow Himself to be betrayed, to suffer and to die? 

The answer to that question is the same as the answer to the question of why we suffer when our Father in heaven is all powerful and all knowing. The uncomfortable fact is that suffering is part of God’s sovereign plan. Though we can often avoid or escape it, in its time is not something that can be escaped, nor something that ought to be avoided. In its time, it accomplishes God’s perfect will. For that reason Jesus does not even try to explain how it works to His disciples. For now, He simply wants them to know that it is coming and that He is aware of it. On the other side of the cross, it will all make sense. 

But until we are on the other side, suffering is a mystery simply we have to trust God for. Yet every disciple can look at the suffering of Christ and know; God is good, God is kind, and God only puts His people through suffering as part of His larger plan. Somehow, it is worth it in the end. Or as God puts it, “Those who hope in me will not be disappointed.”

God is not a sadist who finds joy in causing pain. The writer of Hebrews expresses a parallel thought when he says, “The Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son” (Hebrews 12:6). With eyes of faith one can see God’s goodness and faithfulness even through the darkest veils of human tragedy.

Larry Pechawer


God the Son died for us, and that while we were still His enemies. How much more then, should we be willing to suffer for His sake? 

Overcoming (Matthew 17:20)

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“Nothing will be impossible for you.” Jesus’ comment to His disciples as they  walk away  from the base of the Mount of Transfiguration is just one of a long line of similar exhortations in Scripture. God has repeatedly told His people that they are His people, that He is with them and therefore they can and must do all that He tells them to do. That doesn’t mean it will be easy. It doesn’t mean there won’t be opposition. In fact, Jesus’ comment is made right after the disciples have faced the demonic while they were physically apart from Him. So while we may feel a level of fear or uncertainty, we must know that when we go to obey God, victory is assured. 

“Do not be afraid, for I am with you.” “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” “Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord.”

God’s people know these things. The Psalmist said, “Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.” And Paul said, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Indeed, every story of victory in both Old Testament and New Testament is the story of God’s people hearing God and obeying God – often in spite of fierce opposition. 

It takes courage to be a faithful disciple. Not just courage to stand in the face of opposition, but courage to overcome the fleshly desire for anonymous safety. For God calls us not to stand in the shadows, but to lead others to Himself. That means walking in faith and prayer, even when all around you are not. That means overcoming spiritual opposition (such as the demonic the disciples have just faced). That means becoming known and speaking out for His glory. The Christ-life is a life largely lived in the open. It is a life entirely lived in the knowledge that God has saved, empowered and commissioned us to do what is completely and utterly impossible without Him. 

Nothing is impossible for the disciple of God because – as the archangel Gabriel said, “Nothing is impossible with God.”


We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.

Chuck Swindoll

APPLICATION: Thankfulness

God is with you in power when you are about His purposes.

Exercising Faith (Matthew 17:18-20)

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Jesus is a perturbed at His disciples. Coming down from the Mount of Transfiguration   with Peter, James and John, He found the rest of them arguing with the teachers of the law while a man with a possessed son wondered why they could not drive the demon out. Jesus casts the demon out with a rebuke. “Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed from that moment. Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” He replied, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”” 

Earlier, Jesus had commissioned all twelve of His disciples, saying, “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.” The disciples did that (see Luke 9:10). Subsequently, on this occasion and with Jesus up the mountain, they found themselves again facing a demon that needed driving out. They no doubt tried as they had tried before, but this time they had not succeeded. 

Although Mark’s Gospel notes Jesus saying, “This kind can come out only by prayer,” Matthew’s Gospel account makes it clear that it was not their core methodology that was at the root of their failing. Jesus said they failed to drive it out on account of the shortness of their faith. 

Faith is that which drives us to pray, and faith is the key that unlocks the power in prayer. Jesus notes that faith by itself is powerful. It is faith in their equipment and strength that literally moves mountains as unbelieving people dig a mine. But Jesus says that those with enough faith in God can move mountains by edict. Where the disciples had faith for deliverance before, they lacked it now. That is because before, they literally had just heard Jesus tell them to do it. Now, they have to remember that Jesus previously told them to do it. That gap is the gap wherein doubt lives, and it is doubt that calls into question if we are really qualified to do what God would want us to do in the face of our present circumstance. 

A faithful life is a life that constantly remembers the Scripture. A prayerful life is a life that constantly wrestles with the Word of God spoken to us. Where the two overlap, there is no shortage of ability to deal with the demonic. There may even be enough to move mountains. But the two must overlap in the life of the disciple of God Most High. For without the operation of both faith and prayer, there will never be enough faith to do what God has assigned to us to do. We find instead that we constantly need others to remind us of our calling – and each time they do, we lose out on an opportunity to do something for the glory of God. 

One must remember and embrace the truth of our calling to exercise the faith to pursue our calling in the face of daily circumstance; “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  Amen. 

Faith expects from God what is beyond all expectation.

Andrew Murray

APPLICATION: Intentionality

What is God asking you to do? Exercise your faith today! 

Ministry Priorities (Matthew 17:17)

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At the base the mount of transfiguration, Matthew records Jesus’ disappointment, ““O   unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you?””

Many are those who take Jesus’ comment completely out of context. Doing so leads to seeing the comment as a sad commentary on the skeptics and unbelieving population of His day (and by extrapolation – those in our day). There is some truth in that. But in context, Jesus comment has a different flavour to it altogether. Mark’s Gospel frames it this way:

“When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them. As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him. “What are you arguing with them about?” he asked. A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.” 

“O unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.” So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth. Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “From childhood,” he answered. “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” “ ‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the evil spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up. After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.””  

Jesus’ lament about the generation around Him is certainly given while all around are present. But it is not just directed at the unbelievers around Him, or to the father of the demon-possessed boy He has been asked to heal. Rather, is also and perhaps more primarily directed at His own disciples (who have failed to heal the child). After all, His comment that “everything is possible for him who believes” must be understood as a rebuke to those standing within earshot who do believe. Worse, the fuller context sees the disciples arguing with the teachers of the law in the face of their failure to heal, and everyone can appreciate that arguing with others is no substitute for faithful service. 

And surely every disciple of Christ ought to know that service without prayer is never truly fruitful. 

The great people of the earth today are the people who pray, (not) those who talk about prayer.

S.D. Gordon

APPLICATION: Intentionality

It is more important to pray for the people you are planning to minister to than it is to execute the planned ministry for them. 

Unavailable (Matthew 17:14-16)

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Peter, James and John are walking back down from the Mount of  Transfiguration with  Jesus. While on the mountaintop, they had a unique and holy privilege. They had glimpsed the glory of the Son, heard the Father affirm the Son and were told by the Father to listen to the Son. Coming down from the mountain, they walk into a starkly different scene of a different father and son, “When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. “Lord, have mercy on my son,” he said. “He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him.””  

The difference between the two scenes could not be more dramatic. Instead of a mountaintop experience, this is a valley low point. 

Prior, Jesus the Son had been shown as full of glory and honor. But this son is shown to be possessed and suffering greatly. Prior, the Father had spoken words of affirmation over Jesus the Son. But this father asks instead for needed mercy on his son. Jesus the Son had climbed the mountain, but this son falls often into fire or water. The Father above had said He was pleased with Jesus the Son. The demon within this son hated him, and was actively seeking to extinguish his life. These contrasts are noted in the Scripture not as simple coincidences, but that we might notice them. Each has something to teach us. 

The starkest contrast however, is merely implied. It is that the disciples – as honored by the Son as they were – could not heal this man’s son. 

That fact is remarkable, most notably because these same disciples had been given authority to do exactly this kind of ministry. Matthew had taken special note of this at the beginning of the 10th chapter of his Gospel, “He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.” All twelve of the disciples – even Judas Iscariot – had that authority. They full well could heal this man’s son. But they had failed to do so. That could only be either because they had forgotten they had such authority, or they were afraid to use it for some reason. 

The follower of Christ is wise to pay heed to this episode in the Gospel account. We are Christ-followers and are also afforded the same authority each of the disciples had (see Matthew 28:19-20). Yet we often fail to use that authority. Why is that?

We either have forgotten the Scripture, or we are too timid to use it (which is really not believing that we truly have such authority). But Jesus expects us to know we have that authority (that’s why His impartation of it is in the Scripture for us to read to start with). And Jesus expects us to use it. John 14:12 says, “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” 

The real question is whether we will take up that authority and do what Jesus wants us to do, or whether we do as the disciples did in this case – which is to wait for Him to return to do it for us.  The former brings glory to Christ through us. The latter also brings glory to Christ, but not through us. Worse, it also cements the record of our unbelief in church history.

The limitation is never in God’s unwillingness to bestow, but in man’s incapacity or indifference to receive.

Eugene Russell Hendrix

APPLICATION: Intentionality

What ministry are you afraid of doing? Why? 

Coming Soon (Matthew 17:9-13)

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The Old Testament ends with ends with these words from Malachi;  “Remember the law  of my servant Moses, the decrees and laws I gave him at Horeb for all Israel. See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.” Malachi’s prophecy confirmed what Moses had said in Deut 18:15-19, when the Lord promised to send another prophet. As this was widely taught in the Synagogues (and is to this day), all Israel understood that this coming prophet (Elijah) would herald the appearing of the eternal Kingdom. 

Of course, Peter, James and John have just seen Elijah and Moses speaking with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration. That raised serious questions in their minds, because Elijah should’ve been easily visible prior to Jesus’ appearing. So they asked Jesus about this, “As they were coming down the mountain […] The disciples asked him, “Why then do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?” Jesus replied, “To be sure, Elijah comes and will restore all things. But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.” 

The disciples had forgotten what Jesus had said earlier. For when He was asked about John the Baptist, Jesus had said, “For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John. And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come. He who has ears, let him hear.”  Of course, Jesus was right. “Then the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist.” 

One wonders why the teachers of the law didn’t recognize John the Baptist as Elijah. After all, he dressed like, spoke like and called the people to repentance just as Elijah did. 19th century theologian Otto von Gerlach remark[ed]…“In this sense, Elijah had reappeared in John and in the same sense will another Elijah precede the second coming of the Lord…. in every age, the Lord has His forerunners of the order of Elijah, and especially before His final appearance.”  

So it will come to pass that before His second coming that two witnesses appear, and the Lord Himself testifies, “I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth. […] These men have power to shut up the sky so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying.” There are only two people in all of Scripture who did not taste death before ascending to glory. One is Elijah and the other is Enoch. We do not know much about Enoch, but Elijah was dressed in sackcloth and specifically prophesied to shut the sky for 3 and a half years. Perhaps Enoch was the same. Nevertheless, just as John the Baptist was killed by evil edict, so will Jesus, and so will His two witnesses (see Rev 11:6). 

Elijah and Elijah-like characters aside, Jesus’ point is clear; Misunderstanding and suffering is the common path of all who prophetically live the Christ-life. 

Those who live in the hope of the coming of the Lord to judge the world and deliver the believers will prepare themselves spiritually for that day.

Allen P. Ross

APPLICATION: Intentionality

If Christ were to return today, would you have any regrets? What would do you need to do if He were to return tomorrow?

Credibility (Matthew 17:9)

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J.I. Packer noted, “If we claim to know everything about God we overreach  ourselves, and destroy both our own credibility as witnesses and the credibility of our testimony itself.” That is true. Yet in recognizing the truth of that statement, one also realizes that there is also a line which cannot be crossed in completely honest testimony too: If what we testify of is too far out of the frame of reference of the other, we are perceived as lacking credibility, even as we accurately witness to God-honouring truth. Perhaps for that reason much of our present society rejects Christian testimony – not because it isn’t true, but because it claims a truth that is so far out of the frame of reference of the lost we testify to that it lacks credibility in their eyes. Consequently, when the devil whispers to them, “that isn’t true”, they eagerly accept Satan’s testimony instead.

Scripture warned us of this dynamic at the tail end of the story of the transfiguration of Christ. 

Peter, James and John have gone up the Mount of Transfiguration with Jesus. There they  saw Him transfigured – shining in glory – and overheard Him speaking to Moses and Elijah – two saints who passed into glory many centuries prior. On the way back down, Jesus gives the three saints some very solid advice; “As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”” 

Should they have told them, it would’ve been nearly impossible for the other disciples to believe what Peter, James and John had experienced up on that mountain. It sounds ludicrous that Jesus’ clothes changed, or that they saw and recognized Moses and Elijah. It would’ve sounded silly that they heard the voice from the clouds, and it would’ve appeared very self-serving for them to say that the voice affirmed Jesus as God’s Son.

But after the resurrection it would be a very different case. When the proof of who Jesus is was literally right in front of them – eating and drinking and speaking to them – then hearing of what happened at the top of the mountain would be just one more evidence that Jesus always was who He said He was. It would all make sense then – but not prior to that time. Not before the resurrection. 

When you are living the Christ-life, you experience things that regular people will find hard to believe. In fact, they will find it impossible to believe if you tell them, and even will use those stories against you as proof that you are either seriously deluded, or worse – making it up as you go. But if you tell people who are also living the Christ-life those same stories, then the stories merely affirm what they already know. This is perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of faith. Faith takes faith. Meaning, it takes faith to have faith  – and as we all know, faith cannot be manufactured by the hearer, no matter how well intended those speaking to them are. 

Faith is a gift of God, and that gift – sometimes large and sometimes small – is according to the proportion given by God. Those with even the smallest faith can do tremendous things, even so that nothing is impossible for them. But those without more faith cannot accept the things that those with more faith understand as present reality. At least, not until God gives them more faith – that that takes another personal encounter with Him. Just as it did for the other 8 disciples post-resurrection. 

So it is then, that after the resurrection encounter – and to all who have met Jesus personally by faith since then – the episode at the top of the mountain is a piece of history. We can receive the truth of the Scripture and know it did happen, it is understandable, and it makes sense to us – because we know and have met the risen Christ. But to those who haven’t met Him in that same way yet, that episode is the sketchiest thing they’ve ever heard. Telling the skeptics similar stories of our daily walk with Christ does not increase their faith. Rather, it devalues our credibility in their eyes.

Jesus therefore warns the three, lest their credibility and leadership among the rest suffer. We do well to likewise heed His warning.

Witness must be received, or there is an end of credible testimony.

Samuel Chadwick

APPLICATION: Intentionality

Every good conversation toward greater discipleship begins with consideration of who we are speaking to. 

Presence (Matthew 17:5-8)

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The Father has said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to   him!” Seeing Peter, James and John fall over at the sound, “Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” 

Jesus here models the priesthood of all believers in a most profound way; To be able to accurately reflect the divine character of God Most High, but to do so in a way that is encouraging, comforting and inspiring to those around us.  

Notice that Jesus does not abandon His disciples. Though His Father has spoken, and though He is with Elijah and Moses at the time, He identifies with His disciples when words from Glory are shared. He stays with them and in fact, even draws closer to them – even though they are literally knocked down by the conviction of the words from glory. That is remarkable, for it takes a remarkable amount of spiritual maturity to keep one’s focus on lifting up others when God Himself is esteeming you! 

The next verse notes this even more completely, “When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.”  Jesus chooses to persist with those who are unable to stand in God’s unfiltered presence. 

The ministry of presence is deeply comforting.

Notice too that Jesus touches them. His compassion for those He brought to the Mount of Transfiguration causes Him to reach out and physically encourage them. Even in the Father’s presence, Jesus does not reach out to touch the face of God. Rather, He reaches out to touch the shoulders and take the hands of those who have fallen before God. His touch gives us courage, as holding the hand of someone you love gives you courage when you are hurting. 

Further, Jesus imparts inspiration to those with Him. He says, “Get up”. A simple command that even a child can obey, but also an inspiration. For in His saying so, it is obvious that Jesus believes Peter, James and John can stand before God. In fact, He wants them to. He expects them to. He commands them to. 

Finally, Jesus does what all heavenly beings do when they see frail human flesh bowled over by the glory of heaven. He says, “Don’t be afraid.” He is there. They have no reason to be afraid, for He is for them. As the Word records, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” 

Truly, it is as the Psalmist wrote, “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.” 

This much we know: Jesus knows our frame. He remembers that we are dust. He is with us, to encourage, to comfort and to inspire us. 

Even when we are flattened by the holiness of the One we follow. 

God will meet you where you are in order to take you where He wants you to go.

Tony Evans

APPLICATION: Thankfulness

How good God is to us, that He does not leave us when we are in need, or in sin, or distracted, nor when we well know He has ‘better things to do’! 

Sharing Glory (Matthew 17:5)

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When God speaks to Peter, James and John at the top of the mount of transfiguration,   He tells them four things; “A voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”” The Father tells them who Jesus is in relationship to Him. He tells them that Jesus is loved of Him. He tells them that He is pleased with all Jesus has done, and finally He tells them that Jesus has something God wants to share with others. 

That exhortation may have originally been given to Peter, James and John, but by the very fact that it was recorded in the Gospel, we can know it was also meant for us. Every Christ-follower is in need of hearing these four things no matter how close they are to Christ (and Peter, James and John were certainly in Jesus’ inner circle), because all four of those things are tied to our Christ-likeness. If we are not like Jesus and becoming more like Jesus, they are in jeopardy. If we are like Jesus and becoming more like Jesus, they are well in hand.

To be in relationship with God, one must be part of God’s family. The Scripture says, “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” This is not just the prerequisite of being God’s child. It is the means by which we have Sonship. All who receive Jesus become sons and daughters of the King. At that choice – when we repent and believe on Christ for the salvation of our sins – we literally set aside any prospect of ‘earning’ our way to or back to God. For the prince does not become more valuable to the Kingdom by doing anything, and neither can the princess become more beloved to the Kingdom by gaining a life skill. They are now part of the King’s household, and on that account their value to the Kingdom is already immeasurable. They belong to their father, who is the King. 

So we have a Father-Son relationship with God Most High just as Jesus did. 

Being sons (and daughters) of God, we must know we are loved, for any good parent loves their children. As Romans exhorts us, “If God is for us, who can be against us? […] Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?”  So we are loved by the Father just as Jesus was loved by the Father.

Not only are we who have accepted Christ’s sacrifice for us now in relationship with Him and loved by Him, but we are the work of Christ (therefore pleasing to God). Moreover,  we are well able to do the work of Christ on account of His Spirit at work through us. If then we are obedient, we must know that God is & will be pleased with us. In fact, to this point Ephesians says, “God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. […] For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” 

So we have a relationship with Father God as Jesus did, and we are loved as Jesus is, and God is pleased with us as He is pleased with Jesus. These things being known, we must also recognize that God has something to share through us, just as Jesus had a message  to share with us. 

For it is not that we share ourselves, but rather we that we share Christ in us, the hope of glory. In fact, it is this that Jesus commissions us to do. He said, “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” We share Jesus  – what He said, what He did in and for us and what He is doing today in our world; The whole body of Christ sharing the whole Gospel to the whole world!


Evangelism is not a professional job for a few trained men, but is instead the unrelenting responsibility of every person who belongs to the company of Jesus.

Elton Trueblood

APPLICATION: Intentionality

Who can you share Christ with today? Pray for them and for you and for that opportunity! 

Experiencing Glory (Matthew 17:5-6)

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There are many common themes throughout Scripture, but one of the  easiest ones to  pick up on is the human response to the appearance of heavenly beings. When people see the angelic, they are not just surprised. They are terrified. 

That might be partially explained in that not many are expecting to physically see or experience the angelic and/or divine. Besides – to the unholy, the holy is terrifying all on its own. Holy presence overwhelms sinful flesh. Just as light reveals what is in the dark, holy presence calls to mind one’s unholiness. Yet even those who are expecting the divine are often shaken when He appears. Not only are people scared when they encounter the divine, they often fall down, immobilized by the holiness of the one standing before them.

When Moses was on Mount Sinai, Hebrews tells us, “The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, “I am trembling with fear.”” That is in spite of the fact that he already had a relationship with God and had just climbed a mountain to meet with Him. In fact, Moses himself testified that the whole time he was on the mountain with God, he was laying prostrate before Him, and when He went back up the mountain after breaking the tablets, he did it again, “Then once again I fell prostrate before the Lord for forty days and forty nights.” 

Moses’ reaction is not unusual. Scripture records that many people fell down at Jesus’ feet. One expects that of the evil. “Whenever the evil spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.”” Yet one sees the same with those who are honestly seeking. The woman with the bleeding fell down (Mark 5:33) as did Jarius (Luke 8:41), and even the disciples – though they knew Jesus well – were sometimes terrified of Him. Scripture records, “When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified.” 

So the response that Peter, James and John have to the Father’s voice on the mount of transfiguration is not a surprise to the reader of Matthew’s Gospel:  “While he [Peter] was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified.”  

Holiness is to sin as fire is to gasoline; it’s uncontained presence is incompatible. The sight or even sound of it ignites fear of utter destruction. The more that presence is visible and heard, the more fear we will feel. Peter, James and John experience something of that on the Mount of Transfiguration. 

Their unredeemed flesh cannot even stand up when God speaks, because even among the redeemed, the hint that some form of error remains in our fallen frame becomes literally too much to stand.

The remarkable thing about fearing God is that, when you fear God, you fear nothing else; whereas, if you do not fear God, you fear everything else.

Oswald Chambers


Let us approach God Most High with fear and trembling; for He is holy, and we are not.