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  • For those who are participating in the Lent reading plan, do you have any highlights or thoughts to share from the past week?

Read Matthew 16:21-28

  • What sort of 'Messiah' (i.e. saviour-king) does Jesus describe himself as in verse 21?

  • Why does Peter respond so badly to this?

  • What do you think Jesus means by "get behind me, Satan"? (see Matthew 4:10) How do Peter's words seem to affect Jesus in this moment? Does this surprise you?

  • How does Jesus link his suffering to theirs?

  • And how does his glory connect to all of this?

  • How much of this do you imagine the disciples understood at this time? And how much more would they have understood later?

Read Matthew 17:1-13

This is a strange and unique event in the gospels - and a key moment in the story as well. It appears in Matthew, Mark & Luke, and all three writers link this with the preceding discussion about what sort of Messiah Jesus is.

  • How does this moment contrast with the end of chapter 16? [1]

  • Why do you think God wanted to show Jesus's glory to the disciples at this moment in their journey with him? Why not sooner? Why not save it for later?

  • What do you know of Moses? What about Elijah? Of all the Old Testament characters, why these two? [2]

  • Why do you think Jesus instructed them not to tell anyone what they've seen until after the resurrection?

  • What do you think was the lasting impression of this vision on Peter, James and John? [3]

  • What do each of these facets of Jesus' Messiahship mean to you?

    • Suffering Saviour

    • Great Prophet

    • Glorious God

Spend some time praying prayers of praise to Jesus for who he is. If you like, you could sing or listen to some worship music that declares who Jesus is, such as A Thousand Hallelujahs:

[1] Michael Green sums it up well: "The transfiguration, coming as it does here after the bleak predictions of rejection, emphasizes the link between self-sacrifice and glorious vindication in the economy of the God who reigns and yet suffers."

Michael Green, Matthew: Bible Speaks Today Commentary, p184.

[2] Michael Green again explains:

Moses and Elijah...were recognized as the supreme representatives of the law and the prophets of Israel. And here they were, in this vision, talking with Jesus who had come to fulfil what both law and prophets had looked forward to. Their significance was even greater than that, however. In Scripture, both Moses and Elijah are connected with the end of time. Both had something uncanny about the way they had left this life. Moses was never found: it is assumed that God took him. Elijah was removed from his colleague Elisha in a chariot and horses of fire... Both men stand round Jesus, as if pointing to him, the culmination of all that the law and the prophets had stood for in the unfolding story of Israel. And then they fade away and leave Jesus only. The forerunners have done their task. They can disappear into the background now that the principal figure is here.

Michael Green, Matthew: Bible Speaks Today Commentary, p185.

[3] Peter makes reference to this passage in one of his letters - 2 Peter 1:16-18


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