THE GOSPELS 85
Matt. 17:1-13,Mk. 0:2-13.
The events which took place during the Transfiguration experience have tremendous significance for the entire ministry of Jesus Christ, and for the complete fulfillment of His mission into the world. I would urge the reader to pay careful attention to each detail as we examine what went before and after this historic event.
When Jesus took Peter, James and John with Him up on the Mount of Transfiguration, two figures from history appeared and talked with Jesus. Moses and Elijah represented the ultimate men of authority in Jewish history. Moses, the giver of the law and the standard of authority for all of their behavior. Elijah, the greatest of the prophets, revered by all Jews as the ultimate spokesman for God among men.
Peter was so awed by their appearance that he proposed setting up a memorial for them alongside of Jesus. It was then that the voice of God
came from the cloud saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well
pleased, hear ye HIM”. In other words, no matter how great any man is,
I am present in My Son, and you listen only to Him.
Many people have been taught that when Jesus gave the keys to the Kingdom to Peter, and the job of binding and loosing, that He gave him authority over the earthly part of the Kingdom of Heaven. Nothing could be further from the truth. Giving Peter the keys was giving him the privilege of delivering the message which opened the Kingdom on Pentecost. The binding and loosing was giving him the privilege of delivering the method of response necessary for those who would or would not accept the invitation. He had the privilege of presenting the message, not the authority to make the rules.
This was the point God made when He separated Jesus from Moses and Elijah, and all men, and proclaimed Him His Son and the only authority to be heard. No man is capable of knowing the mind of God. Jesus said, “No man cometh unto the Father but by Me”. Again He said, “If you have seen Me you have seen the Father”. Both of these indicate that men can only deliver the message of Heaven by repeating what Jesus taught. No man has the power to make the rules or to make ultimate judgements of other men.
That men do not have the knowledge of God’s mind and purposes is evident when even His closest disciples, including Peter, still did not understand the nature of the Kingdom shortly before Pentecost. This we see in the question they asked Jesus at that time: “Will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6). They still had no concept of what the Kingdom of God really was, nor the universal scope of it. How could such minds have control of the way God wanted to deal with men in the Kingdom. The things Peter said on the day of Pentecost had to be given to him by the direct inspiration of God’s Holy Spirit, for he still did not know what the Kingdom was to encompass.
At the Jerusalem council, recorded in Acts 15, Peter states clearly that he was given the privilege of taking the message to the Gentiles, and that he did not realize until then that God included them in His plan. When he came into the house of Cornelius, in Acts 10, and Cornelius bowed down to him, he told him to stand up, that he was “just a man”. He fully understood his limitations and never claimed any authority over the words he spoke.
I have gone into great lengths to make this point clear because there has been so much false teaching on this subject. As Paul says, “Jesus is head over all things to the church” (Ephesians 1:22). No man has been given the authority to make rules for, or to act in place of Jesus Christ for the church. God made this very clear at the Transfiguration when He dismissed Moses and Elijah as authorities and pointed to His Son as the only one to be heard.