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See also Mark ix, 2-10. Luke ix. 28–36. And after six days. That is, six days from the conversation recorded in the last chapter. Luke, ix. 28, says, about eight days after. Matthew mentions the six days that intervened between the day of the conversation and the transfiguration. Luke includes both those days and thus reckons eight. These three disciples were with him also in the garden of Gethsemane, Mark xiv. 33. He designed to fit them, in an eminent degree, for the work of the gospel ministry, by the previous manifestations of his glory, and of his patience in suffering. Into a high mountain apart. That is apart from the other disciples. It is commonly supposed that this was mount Tabor, a high mountain in Galilee. Luke adds, ix. 28, that he ascended there to pray: Our Saviour prayed much. When he did it, he chose to be alone. For this purpose he often ascended mountains, or went into deserts.
2 And was transfigured before them : and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.
The word 'transfigure' means to change the appearance, or form. What this change was, we are expressly told. 1. His face shone as the sun; that is, with a peculiar brightness. A similar appearance is described respecting Moses when he came down from the mount, Ex. xxxiv. 29, 30. 2. Another change was that of his garments. They were white as the light. Mark says, white as snow, so as nd fuller on earth could whiten them. The word 'fuller' means one who bleaches cloth, or makes it white; one who cleanses white garments, when by wearing they become soiled. Among the Greeks it was a distinct trade. Luke says white and glistening; that is, resplendent, shining, or a very bright white. · Raiment.' Clothing. Apparel. John refers to this transfiguration in ch. i. 14; and Peter in his second epistle i. 16, 17.
3 And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias, talking with him.
Moses, a distinguished servant of God, by whom the law was given, and whose institutions typified the Messiah. Elias or Elijah, a distinguished prophet, taken to heaven without seeing death. See 2 Kings ii. 11. They appeared in glory; Luke ix. 31, in a glorious form. “Talking with him.' Luke, ix. 31, informs us that they conversed about his decease, which he should accomplish at Jerusalem. To redeemed spirits, that death was an object of intense interest. By faith in that death, they had been saved; and now that it was near, and the Redeemer of mankind was about to die, it is no wonder that this was the burden of his and their thoughts.
Luke adds, ix. 32, that Peter, and they who were with him,
were heavy with sleep. It was after they were awake that they saw this vision. Probably the sudden splendour, the bright shining, aroused them from sleep.
4 Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here : if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.
A tabernacle' is a tent. It was made commonly by fixing posts into the ground, and stretching on them cloth, fastened by cords, Isa. liv. 2. Peter was rejoiced at the vision, and desirous of its continuance. They were frightened, amazed, and rejoiced ; and, in the ecstasy of the moment, they proposed to remain there,
5 While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them : and behold, a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased ; hear ye him.
The word 'overshadow,' here means rather to be diffused, or spread over them. A'cloud' was a symbol of the divine pre
Thus God went before the Israelites in a cloudy pillardark by day, and bright by night, Ex. xiv. 19, 20. God appeared in a cloud on Mount Sinai, Ex. xxiv. 15, 16; and a cloud, the symbol of the divine presence, was seen in the most holy place in the temple, 1 Kings viii. 10, 11. Ezek. i. 4.; X. 4. When, therefore, the disciples saw this cloud, they were prepared to hear the word of the Lord. 'This is my beloved Son. This was the voice of God. This was the second time that, in a remarkable manner, he had declared this. See Matt. iii. 17. This was spoken to confirm the disciples; to declare their duty to hear Christ, rather than any other, and to honour him more than Moses and Elijah. After this, it was impossible for them to doubt that he was truly the Son of God. See 2 Pet. i. 17, 18.
6 And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid.
They entered into the cloud; or the cloud enveloped them, Luke ix. 34. They were therefore afraid. They were awed at the presence of God; and their fears were scattered only by the voice of their beloved Master.
7 And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid. 8 And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only. 9 And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus
charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.
'Tell the vision to no man.' While he was with them, it was unnecessary that they should relate what they had seen. When he was crucified, and had ascended, they would need this evidence that he was the Christ. Then they were to use it. There were three witnesses of it; as many as the law required; and the proof that he was the Messiah was clear. 'Vision.' Sight; appearance. What they had seen on the mount.
Mark adds, ix. 10, they kept this saying, questioning what the rising of the dead should mean. The pharisees believed that the dead would rise; and there is no doubt that the disciples believed it. But their views were not clear. And in particular, they did not understand what he meant by his rising from the dead.
10 And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes, that Elias must first come ?
See also Mark ix. 11-13. Why then say the scribes.' &c. The disciples appear to have been satisfied now, that he was the Messiah." The transfiguration had taken away all their doubts. But they recollected that it was a common doctrine among the Jews that Elijah should appear before the Messiah came; and they did not then recollect that John the Baptist had appeared in the spirit and power of Elias. To this difficulty the word 'then' refers. See note, Matt. xi. 14.
11 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things :
He did not mean by this that Elijah was yet to come; but that it was a true doctrine which the scribes taught, that Elijah would appear before the coming of the Messiah. To restore,' means to put into the former situation, to heal, to correct, to put in proper order. Here it means, that Elijah would be the instrument of reforming the people; of restoring them, in some measure, to proper notions about the Messiah, and preparing them for his coming. John corrected many of their notions about the Messiah, see Matt. iii., and was the instrument of an extensive reformation.
12 But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. 13 Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.
• Elias is come.' That is, John the Baptist has come, in the spirit and power of Elias. See Luke i. 17. They have done whatsoever they listed.' The word list is an old English word,
signifying to choose, to desire, to be inclined. See John iii. 8. They had done to John as they pleased ; that is, they had put him to death.
Mark adds, ix. 12. that Jesus told them that it was written of the Son of man that he must suffer many things, and be set at naught. This was written of him particularly in the liii. chapter of Isaiah. No prophecy was ever more strikingly fulfilled. See Luke xxiii. Il.
14 | And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man kneeling down to him, and saying,
This narrative, with some additions, is found in Mark ix, 14– 29, and Luke ix. 37–43. This took place on the day following the transfiguration, Luke ix. 37. With them, as Mark, ix. 15, informs us, were scribes questioning with them. That is, they were professedly making inquiries about the Saviour, but really attempting to introduce their own sentiments, and to draw them off from him, intending to insinuate that such a person could not be the Christ. The multitude, seeing Jesus coming down, left the scribes, and ran to meet him, (Mark.) They were amazed, probably because they had not expected to see him there. In their joy at meeting him in this unexpected manner, they saluted him, (Mark.) That is, they prostrated themselves before him, after the manner of salutation in eastern countries. See note, Luke x. 4. Jesus seeing the scribes and their artful design, reproved theni, by asking them why they questioned thus with his disciples, Mark ix. 16. Conscious of their guilt, and their base purpose, they returned no answer.
15 Lord, have mercy on my son : for he is lunatic, and sore vexed, for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water.
The word ' Lord,” here, means, sir, a title of civility, not implying divinity. This was an only son, (Luke.) He was possessed with a devil. This calamity was attended with the following symptoms: he was lunatic, see note, Matt. iv. 24; he was
sore vexed, that is, he suffered greatly, or was greatly afflicted; he fell often suddenly, in the manner of persons having epileptic fits; he was dumb, that he was dumb, except when the fit was coming on him; for Luke says, that when the spirit took him, he cried suddenly out; he foamed and gnashed with his teeth, and wasted away, or became poor and emaciated. li tore him, (Luke,) and scarcely departed from him, or he had only short intervals of reason.
16 And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him. 17 Then Jesus answered and
said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you ? how long shall I suffer you? Bring him hither to me.
Perverse' means that which is twisted or turned from the proper direction. Applied to a generation, or race of men, it ineans that they held opinions turned or perverted from the truth, and were wicked in their conduct. He applied this probably chiefly to the Jews, and not to his real disciples. How long shall I suffer you ?" That is, how long shall I bear with you? This was not an expression of impatience or complaint, so much as a reproof that they were so slow to believe that he was the Messiah, notwithstanding his miracles, and that even his disciples so slowly learned to put the proper trust in him. Mark adds, ix. 20—22, that when he that was possessed was brought, the spirit, by a last desperate struggle, threw him down, and tore him, and left him apparently dead. He adds, further, that the case had existed during the whole life of his son, from a child. This was a case of uncommon obstinacy. The affliction was fixed and lasting. The disciples, seeing this, despaired of being able to cure him: lacked the faith which was necessary; doubted whether they could cure him, and therefore could not. Jesus said to the father, Mark ix. 23, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. Not that his faith would give Jesus the power to heal him, but would render it proper that he should exert that power in his favour. In this way, and in this only, are all things possible to believers. The father came, as a father should do, weeping, and praying that his faith might be increased so as to make it proper that Jesus should interpose ir his behalf, and save his child." Help my unbelief, Mark ix. 24, This was an expression of humility. If my faith is defective, supo ply what is lacking. Help me to overcome my unbelief. Let not the defect of my faith be in the way of this blessing.
18 And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour.
"And Jesus rebuked the devil.' Mark, ix. 25, has recorded the words which he used : words implying reproof and command: 'Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee come out of him, and enter no more into him. And the spirit cried, and with a mighty convulsion came out, leaving him apparently dead.
19 Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out?
This inquiry was made in some house to which they retired near the place where the miracle was performed, (Mark.) Jesus told 'hem, in reply, that it was because of their unbelief that they