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18. JESUS LOOKS LIKE GOD (Matt.17:1-9)

BACKGROUND: Moses and Elijah had wanted to see God hundreds of years before this event, but they couldn't. According to the OT, if a sinner looks holy God in the face, he will die. Concerning the death of these two, see Deut.34:1-6 and 2 Kings 2:11. The mountain of transfiguration might have been Mt. Hermon (2760m). See a map.
  1. VERSE 1: How do you think these three disciples felt when Jesus asked none other than them to go to a mountain trip with him?
    • What do you think it was like to climb a high mountain with the equipment of that time?
  2. VERSE 2: Have you ever wished you could see God? If you have, in what sort of situation?
    • What was the meaning of Jesus' face and clothes changing like that?
    • Why did God want to show once the divine figure of his Son in front of human beings?
    • Why didn't the disciples die even though they saw holy God face to face?
  3. VERSE 3: Why did two representatives of the OT also have to be present at this occasion?
    • Why did God choose none other than Moses and Elijah to be on this mountain?
    • How do you think these two felt when they saw the Messiah whose coming they had prophesized?
  4. VERSE 4: What made the disciples feel so good in this situation?
    • If you have had a religious experience after which you didn't want to return to your everyday life, tell us about it.
    • How do you think Peter planned to live on a high mountain from that point on?
  5. VERSE 5: What was the meaning of the cloud in that situation?
    • Why didn't God say, "Obey him", but "Listen to him!"
    • Compare this situation to the one when God gave his law written on stone tablets on Mt. Sinai to his people. What is the difference?
  6. VERSE 6: Peter had just said that he felt very good. What was he afraid of now?
    • Does it feel good or a bad when one is near holy God himself?
    • Which Jesus do you feel is easier to communicate with: the one who wears the clothes of a carpenter or the one who has on the white garment of righteousness? Give your reasons.
  7. VERSES 7-9: What was the significance of Jesus touching his disciples?
    • How do you think the disciples felt about Moses and Elijah having disappeared?
    • Why didn't Jesus want his transfiguration to be known to anyone else, not even the 9 other disciples?

GLAD TIDINGS: From the mountain of transfiguration Jesus started his course towards another mountain, namely Golgotha. In order to give the white garment of righteousness to us Jesus had to die naked on the cross, bearing the shame of our sins.

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