Matthew 17:2-3 There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.
A Glance Back in Time
What comes to mind when you hear the name Moses? A water-proofed, woven reed basket drifting down a river, ten plagues, a hard-hearted Pharaoh? Or is it the Passover, the parting of the sea, the giving of the law at Mount Sinai?
What do you recall about Elijah? Is it the daily bread delivered brookside by ravens, the victory over swarms of false prophets at Mount Carmel, or how Elijah restored life to a grieving widow’s son? Is it Naboth’s vineyard and Elijah’s announcement of judgment to wicked King Ahab and Jezebel? Or his dramatic rise to heaven in a whirlwind?
Moses and Elijah were towering Old Testament figures. The Lord God of Israel worked powerfully through them! Yet Moses died. Elijah was taken from this earth. They were no different from the rest of the fallen sons and daughters of Adam and Eve. They are history.
But both men appeared with Jesus at his transfiguration. Luke tells us that Moses and Elijah were talking with Jesus. “They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem” (Luke 9:31).
Jesus’ departure meant not only his crucifixion and death; it also meant his resurrection, ascension, and victorious enthronement over all creation for the good of his holy Christian church.
What a conversation it must have been -Moses and Elijah talking with Jesus about his successful completion of his heavenly Father’s will to reconcile a world of sinners! All history finds its fulfillment in Christ. World history does. Your personal history and your family’s too.
Apart from Christ Jesus, all history is a meaningless jumble of randomly disconnected events, dates, and sweeping movements. In Christ, not only do we find the reason for our past, we also receive hope for our future and purpose for the present.
God is not a God of the dead but of the living. Jesus was not speaking to lifeless, disembodied memories from a second-rate, forgotten nation. Jesus was conversing with two living human beings about a certain hope -deliverance from this world of sorrows to the bliss of heaven.