Get Up. Don't be Afraid | Matthew 17:1-13

The Transfiguration

1 Six days later Jesus took Peter and the two brothers, James and John, and led them up a high mountain to be alone.2 As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed so that his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as light. 3 Suddenly, Moses and Elijah appeared and began talking with Jesus.
4 Peter exclaimed, “Lord, it’s wonderful for us to be here! If you want, I’ll make three shelters as memorials—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
5 But even as he spoke, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy. Listen to him.” 6 The disciples were terrified and fell face down on the ground.
7 Then Jesus came over and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.”8 And when they looked up, Moses and Elijah were gone, and they saw only Jesus.
9 As they went back down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”
10 Then his disciples asked him, “Why do the teachers of religious law insist that Elijah must return before the Messiah comes?”
11 Jesus replied, “Elijah is indeed coming first to get everything ready. 12 But I tell you, Elijah has already come, but he wasn’t recognized, and they chose to abuse him. And in the same way they will also make the Son of Man suffer.”13Then the disciples realized he was talking about John the Baptist.

Imagine this moment in time

Jesus takes Peter, James and John with him up a high mountain to be alone. The purpose of a high mountain was to remove them from the everyday concerns so that they could have separate time with Jesus and with the Father in prayer. This was common practice for Jesus but I think it may be the first time that He took disciples with Him.Consider the gift of the Sabbath day that God has given us. A time, separate from the world, to spend with Him. A veritable trip to the top of a mountain if we want it to be.

I wonder if Jesus even knew what was going to happen when he took them all up? I know that He was in complete unity with the Father so I would assume that the Father told Him to make the journey and to bring witnesses. Sometimes God does not reveal the reason that He asks us to do something because it can build our faith to walk "blindly" with Him. How much faith does a blind person have to have in the ones that are leading them? Much more than someone with sight. Too often we trust in our own senses and our own "understanding" and do not step out in faith to follow the Will of Our Creator. {Close your eyes and follow Him.}

Suddenly Jesus' countenance starts to change and He begins to shine as bright as the sun and His clothes became like light. I imagine this scene in my mind and I see that God is coming closer to Jesus and as He does Jesus' whole form begins to change. Notice that Jesus is not brought to his knees by the presence of God; another sign that He was without sin. The disciples who were present prostrated themselves face down on the ground when in the presence of God and were enveloped with a sense of fear and awe. They were sinful men in the presence of true Holiness and even with their association with Christ they could not have survived seeing God. They only made it through by seeing God through Jesus...something to ponder my reading friends.

Now Moses and Elijah appear and begin speaking to Jesus. We are not told what was said between them here but in the account in Luke 9:31 we learn that they are talking of His "exodus from this world, which was about to be fulfilled in Jerusalem." Is it no wonder that they would talk about the moment (Christ's death) that they had both laid their faith in and which had supplied for their salvation.

Next God comes fully onto the scene in the form of a bright cloud overshadowing them and He speaks almost the same words that He used at Jesus' baptism. "This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy. Listen to Him." This is the point when the awe filled disciples (I can't imagine they felt anything but amazement and awe at this point) suddenly feel fear and quickly fall to the ground face down. This is what happens to sinful man in the presence of a Holy God. We lose sight of this sense of fear when we remove ourselves from the presence of God by,

  • Neglecting to read His Word
  • Sliding back into the ways of the world
  • No longer sharing Him
  • No longer praying

...but when God reveals himself to us, we gain an immediate sense of our own exceeding sinfulness and we can do nothing but drop!

We have a moment of the whole plan of salvation here. You see, Jesus is our salvation. When we accept his gift of dying on the cross for us his life (which


stand up to the presence of a Holy God) is put in our place and God see's Him; not us. (Praise Jesus!) This is what allows us to then "go boldly" to the throne of God (through prayer) and make our requests..because we are doing it while being covered by the character of Christ Jesus. It is ONLY through accepting the gift of grace from Jesus and asking Him to cover our sins that we can be saved; otherwise we must stand in the presence of God, during the final judgement, on our own merit. That thought, my reading friends, brings me to my knees!

Finally, we come to the moment when Jesus comes to the dirty, trembling, face-in-the-ground disciples...

{ I must take a moment here to make sure that you who are reading this do not make a common mistake. Fear of God does not mean that He is angry with us. He loved us so much that He gave us His Son to save us. Fear of God is that overwhelming sense that we get when in the presence of a Holy God. It is a truth that we cannot survive as sinful beings in that presence. It will kill us, permanently, if we do not have a "protective covering". It is as natural a law as gravity. }

..and he bids them to "Get up. Don't be afraid." Again, in this I see salvation through Christ. And, with that salvation, comes the gift of fearlessness. Not only can we go boldly to the throne of God but we can go out unto all the world preaching the everlasting gospel and sharing this good news with those who haven't yet heard it. This too is a gift; a gift that just keeps on giving because the more you share the more you just can't get enough of Jesus!


Dear Lord,

Thank you so much for Your gift of "fearlessness". Help us all to go out in Your strength and share this good news. Thank you for making a way for us to be in the presence of our Loving Father in Heaven. Thank you for defeating death and giving us life.

Lord, there are so many people that I want to bring up on prayer. Read my heart and know them all. I bring up to you especially the young boy who was pierced in the heart with a nail gun. Please Lord, save this young life. I bring up to you my friends Ken and Karen and ask that You would continue to work in their growth in You. I ask you to watch over and care for all of my family and friends. I ask that You will bless the event at the church today and help someone to see and understand Your love through us.

I ask You to cover my sins with Jesus sacrifice. I ask that You would come into my life...I give it to You to use. Thank You for Your promises and Your Love. Amen.