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Jesus – Worth Dying For


Matthew 17:1-8

Here in the first 8 verse of Matthew 17 you find the story of what we call the “Transfiguration.”

Let me show you what I mean. Let’s begin by going back a few verses to chapter 16 and verse 24.

Now that was not an easy teaching for them to accept. .

And that is the same question that we are faced with today.

But still, we are facing some personal sacrifices… some giving up of our lifestyles…

Now we know He is worth a little time every week.

Well, Matthew is going to answer that for us here in chapter 17.

In verse 1, Jesus takes Peter, James and John up on a high mountain by themselves.

Here in verse 2, Jesus is “changed… He is transformed… He goes through “metamorphosis” and look at the change that takes place. The verse says:

“And His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light.”

Now let’s stop for a moment and read these words again.

“And He was transfigured before them and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light.”

These words are so easy to read and we just pass by them with out thinking about what is happening here.

What happened here was not computer generated…it was not a shrewd deception.

What Matthew is describing here is something that actually took place!

Jesus was transfigured before them, and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light.

There is only one other time when anything like this ever happened in scripture.

But this is different.

And this radiance isn’t a reflection of God.

Look with me at John 17 and look at verse 4.

“I glorified Thee on the earth, having accomplished the work which Thou hast given Me to do. “And now, glorify Thou Me together with Thyself, Father, with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was.

When Jesus became a man, what He had to do in order to relate to us, He had to put aside his brilliance.

But now here in this prayer Jesus is asking God to “restore that glory back to Him…the glory that He had before the world.”

And it is interesting that the only two post ascension appearances of Jesus in the Bible show him that way.

That is the real Jesus!

And the point I am trying to make is when Jesus was on that mountain, what He did was, for a moment strip away the exterior, the humanity in which he was encased and Peter and James and John saw for just a glimpse the real essence…the real majesty that was His from eternity.

Jesus did not change His nature on top of the mountain.

And that is important because it shows that Jesus could step across the boundary of time from earth into glory any time He chose.

And so when we ask ourselves “Is Jesus worth dying for?”

But now go back to Matthew 17 and look at verse 3. In verse 3 we see two others. Elijah and Moses who are talking with Jesus.

Why were Moses and Elijah there?

There are several ideas but let me tell you what Moses’ and Elijah’s presence here is probably really about.

So what you have here is a confirmation, not only by Moses and Elijah that Jesus is the Messiah and the Son of God… and worthy of us following.

But there is more.

So what you have here is Moses…representing the Law with all of its sacrifices….the Day of Atonement…the Burnt Offering sacrifices…the Sin sacrifices…the Peace offering….the Law and all of its sacrifices confirming that Jesus is not only the Messiah…but that He must also go to the cross.

Everything recorded here, in the OT…all the Law…the sacrifices…the prophets…their prophesies… all point to and confirm…and tell us that Jesus is the Messiah…and that He must die on the cross… and it all says… He is worth following!

But you know, some of us are still not sure! We are still not sure that He is worth our “denying ourselves, taking up our cross, and following Him.”

“And Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three tabernacles here, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.

Notice what Peter calls Jesus.

And not only that; the fact that He wants to build three tabernacles, one for each, indicates that in His mind, Jesus is on the same level as Moses and Elijah!

And some of us are still not sure about Jesus either.

How do we know?

So guess what?

Look at verse 5:

“While he was still speaking, behold a bright cloud overshadowed them…”

“While he was still speaking, behold a bright cloud overshadowed them; and behold, a voice out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!”

Here Peter is, he is still not sure.

And so a cloud forms over head.. .and God says, “This is My beloved Son, listen to Him.”

Is Jesus worthy of us following?

And you know, Peter learned that. Go to 2 Peter 1:12.

Now folks, two times here Peter has mentioned His departure or His dying.

What convinced Him of that? Look at verse 16-18: For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. 17 For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, “This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased”– 18 and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.

The events of the Transfiguration convinced Peter that Jesus was worth dying for.

What about you? Everything that convinced Peter is right here. Will you die for Jesus too? What more will it take?