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By the Gospel


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Some eight days after these sayings, He took along Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And while He was praying, the appearance of His face became different, and His clothing became white and gleaming. And behold, two men were talking with Him; and they were Moses and Elijah, who, appearing in glory, were speaking of His departure which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and his companions had been overcome with sleep; but when they were fully awake, they saw His glory and the two men standing with Him. And as these were leaving Him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three tabernacles: one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah”—not realizing what he was saying. While he was saying this, a cloud formed and began to overshadow them; and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. Then a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!” And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent, and reported to no one in those days any of the things which they had seen.

—Luke 9:28–36

I don’t know if this is a hermeneutically legitimate exposition of this particular text, but I think the point is biblically sound. Take it as you will.

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‘This is my beloved Son, hear him.’

St. Mark and St. Matthew add, ‘in whom I am well pleased.’ The same testimony that God the Father gave to the blessed Jesus at his baptism, before he entered upon his temptation, is now repeated in order to strengthen and prepare him for his impending agony in the garden. . . . God the Father hereby gives Moses and Elijah a solemn discharge, as though they were sent from heaven on purpose to give up their commission to their rightful Lord and like the morning star disappear when the Sun of Righteousness himself arises to bring in a gospel day. ‘This is my beloved Son, hear him.’ But the emphasis upon the word this—this Son of Man, this Jesus, whom you are shortly to see in a bloody sweat, blindfolded, spit upon, buffeted, scourged and at length hanging upon a tree, I am not ashamed to own to be my Son, my only begotten Son, who was with me before the heavens were made, or the foundations of the earth were laid. My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom my soul delighteth and whom I do by these presents, publicly constitute and appoint to be the king, priest, and prophet of the church.

‘Hear ye him.’ No longer look to Moses or Elijah, no longer expect to be saved by the works of the law. But by the preaching and application of the ever-blessed gospel.

—George Whitefield, “Christ’s Transfiguration” in Lee Gatiss (Ed.), The Sermons of George Whitefield (Crossway, 2012), 1:497.



Posted 2019·02·04 by David Kjos
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Posted in: George Whitefield · The Sermons of George Whitefield

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