November 4, 2019

Quiet Down! God Is Speaking.

Matthew 17

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The Transfiguration

And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son,1 with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were terrified. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and have no fear.” And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.

And as they were coming down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, “Tell no one the vision, until the Son of Man is raised from the dead.” 10 And the disciples asked him, “Then why do the scribes say that first Elijah must come?” 11 He answered, “Elijah does come, and he will restore all things. 12 But I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but did to him whatever they pleased. So also the Son of Man will certainly suffer at their hands.” 13 Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them of John the Baptist.

Jesus Heals a Boy with a Demon

14 And when they came to the crowd, a man came up to him and, kneeling before him, 15 said, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he has seizures and he suffers terribly. For often he falls into the fire, and often into the water. 16 And I brought him to your disciples, and they could not heal him.” 17 And Jesus answered, “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me.” 18 And Jesus rebuked the demon,2 and it3 came out of him, and the boy was healed instantly.4 19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” 20 He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”5

Jesus Again Foretells Death, Resurrection

22 As they were gathering6 in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men, 23 and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.” And they were greatly distressed.

The Temple Tax

24 When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax went up to Peter and said, “Does your teacher not pay the tax?” 25 He said, “Yes.” And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tax? From their sons or from others?” 26 And when he said, “From others,” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are free. 27 However, not to give offense to them, go to the sea and cast a hook and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find a shekel.7 Take that and give it to them for me and for yourself.”

Footnotes

[1] 17:5 Or my Son, my (or the) Beloved
[2] 17:18 Greek it
[3] 17:18 Greek the demon
[4] 17:18 Greek from that hour
[5] 17:20 Some manuscripts insert verse 21: But this kind never comes out except by prayer and fasting
[6] 17:22 Some manuscripts remained
[7] 17:27 Greek stater, a silver coin worth four drachmas or approximately one shekel

Quiet Down! God Is Speaking.



Key Verse | Matthew 17:5

He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him."

Bio | Scott Bedgood

As a sportswriter and author, I've written internet bios of myself many times, but never have I written a "spiritual" bio. I was raised in a Christian home by two loving parents and accepted Christ at a young age. This faith has grown and changed many times over the years, but the Lord has been faithful. Though I'm still tempted to stray from Him daily, He has used faithful community group members to consistently call me back to Him. My wife Sami and I have been married for over four years and love serving in Merge, Watermark's premarital ministry.

Central Truth

Sometimes it's best to be silent before God and listen to what He's trying to tell us. 

Devotional | Matthew 17

Peter is one of my favorite people in the Bible because he always speaks his mind. Whenever the disciples needed someone to speak up, Peter was usually the guy with the boldness to say what everyone else was thinking....

Peter is one of my favorite people in the Bible because he always speaks his mind. Whenever the disciples needed someone to speak up, Peter was usually the guy with the boldness to say what everyone else was thinking.

Only a few days after Peter drew the praises of Jesus by being the first disciple willing to identify him as the Christ (Matthew 16:16), we see Peter speaking up at the exact wrong time here.

Imagine seeing the Son of God Himself speaking with Moses and Elijah. Most people would be rendered utterly and completely speechless. James and John appear to have been struck with silence, but not Peter. He blurts out something about building tents for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah. Both the Mark and Luke accounts of the Transfiguration story add a line stating that Peter didn't know what he was saying because he was terrified (Mark 9:6, Luke 9:33).

God speaks to people in different ways throughout the Bible; sometimes it's in a "low whisper" as He spoke to Elijah in 1 Kings 19:12, and other times it's in a burning bush as He spoke to Moses in Exodus 3:2. In this case, God spoke to Peter, James, and John by interrupting Peter's rambling with a bright cloud and declaring the identity of Jesus to them.

"This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him." (Matthew 17:5)

At this, Peter was quiet. Upon hearing the words of God spoken directly to him, even Peter couldn't muster a response.

Often, I want to speak when I should be listening to God. The Lord wants to hear our prayers, our cries of desperation, and our songs of praise. But I also must be willing to listen to Him and the things He tells me in His Word.

Like Peter, I must learn when to speak up and when to listen to God. Sometimes, I need to sit in silent prayer and listen to what the Lord is telling me.

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Discussion Questions

1. Can you think of a time in your life when you wish you had listened to God instead of yourself?

2. When was the last time you sat quietly before the Lord? Do you feel like you benefited from this time of meditation on God's Word?

3. Conversely, are there times you wish you had been bold like Peter in Matthew 16:16 when he declared that Jesus was the Christ? How do you determine the difference between when you should be quiet and when you should boldly speak up?

4. What are some truths God teaches us in the Bible that you have a hard time believing? 

10 Comments available

Jay Caruso 12 days ago

Thank you Scott for your devo and breaking down peter a little bit. #1 I can think of numerous of times where God was speaking to me and I did not listen. every time I get so frustrated that I didn’t listen to the Holy Spirit and I God speaking to me through the word or my heart and my mind. Every time that happened I failed and it costs dearly

Michael Scaman 14 days ago

The sign of Jonah… a compliment/criticism for Simon Son of Jonah… and now a coin from a fish’s mouth.

All surrounding Jesus getting Peter to call him ‘Messiah’ although Peter not understanding or liking the plan (like Jonah)

And even a miraculous fish account (like Jonah)

Michael Scaman 14 days ago

An inner circle of apostles goes up the mountain with Jesus to witness Moses, Elijah with Jesus (even speaking about Jesus exodus) and one of three times where there was a voice from heaven.

The apostles argued about who was greatest and it didn’t help having some taken up the mountain and others left behind.

When they come down, the reality is there’s a sick boy and the other apostles (maybe not happy they were left behind) not able to heal him. The previous high followed by a low. But Jesus uses it as a teachable moment and heals him.

Michael Scaman 14 days ago

The Father says ‘this is my beloved Son, listen to him’ and the Son of God title affirmed by God is followed by Jesus using ‘Son of Man’ a couple times.

The Father speaks audibly 3 times and always to glorify the Son. (The Son glorifies the father.)

Greg Jones 14 days ago

Malachi4:5 is where the reference to Elijah coming first is taken from.

The book of Malachi is probably best known for verse3 of chapter10-bring the whole tithe…open the floodgates…test me on this. Jesus isn’t talking about this.

He is pointing towards a different test that is coming.

On the day when I act,” says the Lord Almighty, “they will be my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as a father has compassion and spares his son who serves him. Malachi3:17

And

And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not. Malachi3:18

Q4

Michael Scaman 14 days ago

They were greatly distressed by Matt 17:22-23 but it didn’t sink in.

Scott Jones 14 days ago

This is a link to a picture I took in 2005. Patti and I were on Mt Tabor, one of the two possible sites of the Transfiguration. The top of the mountain was in a cloud. I shot this quickly from the parking lot. That night at the hotel we reread the account of the Transfiguration and looked at this photo and were amazed at the visual God gave us of the cloud in this passage. https://1drv.ms/u/s!ArYYVpW0nkshg6Vbo_xFr6U2CkrVFw

Scott Jones 14 days ago

Q2. Sitting quietly before the Lord this morning. https://1drv.ms/u/s!ArYYVpW0nkshg6VcTsCwfaDn9PGOvQ

Sue Bohlin 15 days ago

Thank you, Scott!

The Transfiguration is one of my favorite stories in the Bible. I hope there’s a video of it in heaven! The Lord of Glory dialed His native light and glory waaaaaaay back in His “earthsuit” while He was hanging with people down here, but up on the mountain He gave His buds Peter, James and John a literal peek of His blow-their-minds true glory. I also love that they instantly recognized Moses and Elijah even though of course they had never met these men. Which makes me wonder if we will instantly know people we’ve never met in heaven. I don’t think M & E had nametags . . .! That’s one of the delicious questions I am looking forward to seeing answered on the other side.

Hugh Stephenson 15 days ago

“7b Rise, and have no fear.” 8 And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.

I see this verse as a command followed by a promise.

I am taught that Moses and Elijah represent the Law and the Prophets. I link to Matthew 5:17 and Matthew 22:40.

When I surrender all my fears to Jesus, who fulfills all what was foretold in the Law and the Prophets - then I will see Him only.

One of my greatest challenges is a faithful response to the command “be in the world but not of it.”

If you asked me if Jesus is enough, I would answer “Absolutely Yes!”

Then start taking away things I value – material blessings, health, relationships etc.

Father, may I continue to seek to know your goodness and kindness so deeply that regardless of circumstance that I can always answer “yes”.

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