In my previous post I mentioned how the events on the Mount of Transfiguration are recorded in Matthew’s gospel, right between the first two mentions of the cross. A lesson to all believers that suffering, and glory go together. Moreover, an encouragement also, so that we might know that our Lord’s death on a cross of shame was not a crushing defeat but a glorious victory. No one took His life from Him, but He had the authority to lay it down and He had the authority to take it up again.
Therefore, those who think only of a scourged and beaten man nailed to a tree, are reminded by the events of the transfiguration that the same man had previously been revealed to His followers (and through them to us), in His glory as our great God and King. And being so, He could have called on 10,000 angels to take Him down from the cross, but in His obedience to the Father and His great love for us, He hung and suffered there until He was able to say “It is finished”.
It is because He humbled Himself to the point of death, even the death of the cross that God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name. Indeed, Jesus is truly King of Kings and Lord of Lords, but the lesson is this, that before the crown could be worn, the cross had to be borne.
At the conclusion of Matthew 16, the very chapter before Matthew records the event on the Mount of Transfiguration, Jesus says: -
“If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me”.
“IF anyone desires to come after Me” He says… IF. Such a small word… such a huge consequence. Because dear friends, this is where it gets real. This is where we are brought to the point of realisation; In order to follow after Jesus, we must be willing to pay the same price He did. For those who truly aspire to one day receive the crown of life, the lesson remains; before the crown can be worn, the cross must be borne.
Following after Jesus comes at great personal cost, just ask the original disciples. And likewise, if anyone desires to follow after Jesus, they too must deny themselves and take up their cross. There must be a willingness to lose one’s life for our Lords sake before we may inherit eternal life. This is a point reinforced in Luke 14:27 where Jesus says, “whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple”. We cannot escape the personal cost of deciding to follow after Jesus, for which of us, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether we have enough to finish it. But do not be put off or discouraged…
That cost is high; however, the reward is matchless.
This is a road which our Lord has walked before us, a road which was ever stretched before Him, a road leading Him unerringly to Golgotha, to Mount Calvary. It was all a part of God’s wonderful plan. The Jesus revealed on the Mount of Transfiguration is the Jesus of Mount Calvary and the lesson is that glory and suffering go together, that there could not be one without the other. Moreover, the transfiguration showed the relationship between the Cross and the Coming and it holds a marvelous promise for those who will follow after Him.
In Titus 2:13 we are told how those who have received the saving grace of God should live as they eagerly await and look for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ. It is a wonderful and blessed hope indeed, that although we have received the witness of Peter, James and John of Christ temporarily revealed in His glory on the Mount of Transfiguration, when we see Him for ourselves, we shall see Him in His glory. However, glory to God, there is more still. This is the blessed hope. Not only the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ, but in that day, we shall be changed. Not only shall we be with Him, we shall be like Him.
Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore, the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. (1 John 3:1-2)
What a glorious day that will be when we shall see Him as He is and when He is revealed, we shall be like Him. Therefore, take up your cross and follow Him. The cost may be high, but the reward is matchless.