We’re on our third mountain in Matthew – the best kind of Munro bagging!
1) The Mount of temptation – where Jesus stood up to all the devil could tempt Him with, using Scripture to see him off.
2) The Mount of the Sermon – where we experienced His amazing teaching
3) The Mount of transfiguration – where we see His glory
Isaiah’s prophecies show Jesus must suffer to bring the glory of God. In Matthew we have seen predictions of suffering and increasing rejection, here we get a taste of the glory that will be fully seen in the resurrection!
I love how the Father repeats what He said over Jesus at the baptism “This is my Son, whom I love, with Him I am well pleased!” and then adds to it “listen to Him!”
Moses and Elijah have joined Him on the mount as the supreme representatives of the Law and the Prophets. There’s the cloud, the glory and then Moses and Elijah fade away leaving Jesus as the One. The forerunners have done their job. John the Baptist who had done the “return” of Elijah thing to point to Jesus is gone. Now it’s Jesus – suffering servant, glorious King!
After the mountain top, comes frustration (been there and done that!)
As they return to the everyday, they are met with tragedy, need and failure. The disciples couldn’t heal him -why not – they lacked the faith. Michael Green comments that when knowledge about God increases, so often actual dependence on God shrinks. On faith Jesus points out it is not the amount of faith that matters, it is where it is located. A mustard seed will do! You don’t need to whip up more faith with shouting, you need to put it in Christ.
Lastly Jesus isn’t a political Messiah, here to overthrow the estate, He’s obedient. Jesus doesn’t need to pay the tax to His Father’s house – but to avoid putting a stumbling block (skandalon), He does so with a miracle! A word of knowledge that the first fish caught will have eaten a shiny coin!
So what do we have?
- Suffering leads to glory – don’t look for it, but see how God is using it to mature you (James 1:2-8)
- Mountain top experiences are often followed by valleys – but God is with us in both (Psalm 139:7-10)
- Obey the law of the Land
- Expect God to Provide
Michael Green’s Bible Speaks Today: The Message of Matthew is one of the best in the series.
I have also been impacted by Jack Frost’s “Spiritual slavery to Spiritual Sonship” this week – well worth a read too!