Approbation of God
Wade E Taylor
"And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James,
and John His brother, and bringeth them up into
an high mountain apart, and was transfigured
before them" Matt 17:1-2a.
Only three within the twelve were chosen to witness the transfiguration
of Jesus into visible glory. There was a progression that
led to this.
At the beginning of His ministry, Jesus fasted all night
and then chose twelve disciples. They lived and moved with
Him as He ministered for two and a half years. Then Jesus
said to them, “Who am I?”
If the pictures in Christian bookstores were accurate, Peter,
being an extrovert, would have spoken up and said, “It
is very obvious.” But we have a description in Isaiah
53:2 as to how Jesus looked.
“For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant,
and as a root out of a dry ground. He has no form
nor comeliness; and when we shall see Him, there
is no beauty that we should desire Him.”
He became known as Jesus of Nazareth, a place of reproach.
Nazareth was located between the Jewish and the Gentile states.
The Jew that married a Gentile was rejected by both. The Jews
would not accept him because of the Gentile, and the Gentiles
would not accept him because of the Jew. Therefore, they were
accepted by none and were despised by all.
Jesus gave Nazareth as his address. It could only be known
by revelation that He was truly “Jesus of Bethlehem.”
Jesus chose a visage that would not be attractive to man,
so He could be known only by revelation.
Peter responded to this question concerning His identity
and said, “You are the Christ, the son of the living
God.” Jesus then said that he was blessed, because “flesh
and blood” had not revealed this to him. In other words,
Jesus told Simon-Barjona that he had identified Him, not by
observation, but rather, by revelation. Peter had heard from
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ
Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to
be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and
took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the
likeness of men” Phil 2:5-7.
For Jesus to be equal to God means that He is God. Yet He
so “emptied” Himself of Deity that He could only
be known by revelation. Jesus so depended on His Father that
there was no evident power or authority resident within Him.
Thus, Jesus could say, “Simon Barjona, you are now
Peter, and on this rock I will build My Church.” The
word “Peter” means “a small stone.”
Jesus is the “rock” who continually heard from
the Father. Now Simon Barjona has heard and is therefore of
the same substance as Jesus.
Jesus then told Peter that He will build His Church on this
quality of revelation - the ability to hear from the Father,
as He hears. Now Peter is ready to receive power and authority
to function in ministry in order to build the Church.
After two and one half years of ministry, Jesus has one convert.
He had to wait this long before He dared to ask this crucial
question, “Who am I?” But after one sermon on
the day of Pentecost, three thousand were added to the Church,
as Peter spoke the words that he heard by revelation.
Thus, the “rock” that the Church is built upon
is the “ability” to hear from the Father and speak
His words. Jesus said that He only did the things which He
saw the Father doing. Now, those who follow Him can do the
Jesus then told Peter that He would give him the “keys
to the Kingdom.” These keys are the ability to hear
a specific word and then act on that word. The “key”
means that we have received an empowered, creative word from
the Lord that will open the door to the situation we face.
Now the ministry of Jesus is finished, as He has one who
hears from the Father, as He hears. All that remains is for
Jesus to get ready to die on the cross.
“From that time forth began Jesus to shew to His disciples,
how that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things
of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed,
and be raised again the third day.” Matt 16:21.
It took Jesus two and a half years to get one convert. Now
He is about to trust all that follows on the one person who
is hearing. This tells us the importance of hearing from the
Father, and then acting on what we have heard.
There are only two things that remain for Jesus to reveal
before going to the cross to die for our sin, the cross and
First, Jesus revealed the cross.
“Then said Jesus to His disciples, If anyone will
after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross,
and follow Me.” Matt 16:24.
The cross that we are to take up always cuts across the “I
will” with “Thy will.” It means that I make
a decision to die to my will and ways, and submit to His will
and ways in ongoing obedience.
There are those who stop at the cross, who are forever dying
and checking as to how dead they are. I remember a word shared
by Hattie Hammond in 1967 about an over emphasis on the cross.
“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow;
toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say to you,
That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed
like one of these.” Matt 6:28-29.
Underneath the surface of the earth is a bulb that is dying,
from which the life of the lily issues. Jesus did not say,
“consider the bulb, how it is dying so the lily can
The Adamic nature must be buried so the Christ life can issue
forth from it. Thus, Jesus is saying, “Behold the new
creation life that has come forth from that which has been
committed to the earth.”
We are prone to share our sufferings and our trials, but
Jesus said that we are to anoint our face to shine, so we
do not give the appearance of fasting. We are to go beyond
the cross and enter into “the more abundant life”
that Jesus came to give us. Thus, Paul said,
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live;
yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life
which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith
of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself
for me.” Gal 2:20.
The purpose of our redemption is not merely to get us into
heaven. Rather, it is for us to come into an active life of
abiding in His presence, as a functioning member of His body.
Thus, we are to go past the cross to the glory.
“And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and
his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain
apart, and was transfigured before them: and His face
did shine as the sun, and His raiment was white as the
light.” Matt 17:1-2.
The word does not tell us the reference point for this six
days. Thus, this “six days” can be understood
as being prophetic of our day, as we are at the end of man’s
six days, and are approaching the Millennial seventh day.
Therefore, we are greatly privileged, as we are living in
the time when the transfigured glory which the disciples saw
will be made manifest in the present day Church.
Second Peter 2:5 gives us a further word on the purpose of
His glory being made available to us.
“You also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual
house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual
sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” I Peter
These “lively stones” speak of His glory resting
upon us, so as to be seen by others. There are two purposes
which our Lord’s manifest glory will accomplish.
First, in the reflection of His glory, we see ourselves as
we are, and as a result, we are changed. This happened to
Isaiah in Isaiah 6:1-7.
“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass
the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same
image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit
of the Lord.” II Cor 3:18.
As we become this “lively stone,” others will
see His presence and will come to receive from us.
“Arise, shine; for your light is come, and the glory
the LORD is risen upon you. For, behold, the darkness
shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people:
but the LORD shall arise upon you, and his glory shall
be seen upon you.
“And the Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings
the brightness of your rising.” Isa 60:1-3.
The cross then is to lead us to the Glory. As we begin to
hear as Peter heard, we will become as the three within the
twelve, and the Lord will take us up to the mount of transfiguration.
There, we will see Him as He is, and we will be changed and
made ready for the age to come.