|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
9:28-36 Christ's transfiguration was a specimen of that glory in which he will come to judge the world; and was an encouragement to his disciples to suffer for him. Prayer is a transfiguring, transforming duty, which makes the face to shine. Our Lord Jesus, even in his transfiguration, was willing to speak concerning his death and sufferings. In our greatest glories on earth, let us remember that in this world we have no continuing city. What need we have to pray to God for quickening grace, to make us lively! Yet that the disciples might be witnesses of this sign from heaven, after awhile they became awake, so that they were able to give a full account of what passed. But those know not what they say, that talk of making tabernacles on earth for glorified saints in heaven.
Verses 28-36. - The Transfiguration. Verse 28. - And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray. Some eight days after this question asked in the neighbourhood of Caesarea Philippi, and its reply, and the sermon to the people on the subject of "No cross, no crown," which immediately followed, our Lord summoned the three leading disciples and took them up into a mountain to pray. They had spent the last few days apparently in quiet converse together. SS. Matthew and Mark speak only of six days. St. Luke gives the period in round numbers, counting portions of the first and last days as whole days. We may well imagine that this was a period of intense depression in the little company of Jesus. Their Master's popularity was fast waning among the people. His powerful enemies seemed gathering closer and closer round the Teacher whom they were determined to crush. The late utterances of Jesus, too, whether spoken to them alone, or publicly to the people, all foreshadowed a time of danger and suffering in the immediate future for him and for them - a time which, as far as he was concerned, would close with a violent death. To raise the fainting spirits of his own, to inspire them with greater confidence in himself, seems to have been the immediate purpose of that grand vision of glory known as the Transfiguration. It is true that to only three was vouchsafed the vision, and silence was enjoined on these, but the three were the leading spirits of the twelve. If Peter, James, and John were brave, earnest, and hopeful, there was little doubt that their tone of mind would be quickly reflected in their companions. Tradition, based on the fairly early authority of Cyril of Jerusalem, and of Jerome (fourth century), speaks of the mountain as Tabor, but the solitude evidently necessary for the manifestation would have been sought for in vain on Mount Tabor, a hill which rises abruptly from the Plain of Esdraelon, not very far from Nazareth to the south-east, for the summit of Tabor at that time was crowned with a fortress. The mount,in most probably was one of the lower peaks of Hermon, at no great distance from the fountain source of the Jordan and Caesarea Philippi, in which district we know Jesus and his companions had been teaching only a few days before.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And it came to pass, about an eight days after those sayings,.... About a week after he had declared the above things, at, or near to Caesarea Philippi. The other evangelists, Matthew and Mark, say it was six days after: the reason of this difference is, because Luke takes in the day in which he delivered these sayings, and that in which he was transfigured, and they only reckon the intermediate days:
he took Peter, and John, and James; the same that he admitted to be with him at the raising of Jairus's daughter, and in the garden afterwards:
and went up into a mountain to pray; to his God and Father, that his disciples might have a visible display of his glory, as an emblem and pledge of that in which he shall hereafter appear: it was usual with Christ to go up into a mountain to pray; Matthew 14:23. See Gill on Matthew 17:1.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Lu 9:28-36. Jesus Transfigured.
28. an eight days after these sayings—including the day on which this was spoken and that of the Transfiguration. Matthew and Mark say (Mt 17:1; Mr 9:2) "after six days," excluding these two days. As the "sayings" so definitely connected with the transfiguration scene are those announcing His death—at which Peter and all the Twelve were so startled and scandalized—so this scene was designed to show to the eyes as well as the heart how glorious that death was in the view of Heaven.
Peter, James, and John—partners before in secular business; now sole witnesses of the resurrection of Jairus' daughter (Mr 5:37), the transfiguration, and the agony in the garden (Mr 14:33).
a mountain—not Tabor, according to long tradition, with which the facts ill comport, but some one near the lake.
to pray—for the period He had now reached was a critical and anxious one. (See on Mt 16:13). But who can adequately translate those "strong cryings and tears?" Methinks, as I steal by His side, I hear from Him these plaintive sounds, "Lord, who hath believed Our report? I am come unto Mine own and Mine own receive Me not; I am become a stranger unto My brethren, an alien to My mother's children: Consider Mine enemies, for they are many, and they hate Me with cruel hatred. Arise, O Lord, let not man prevail. Thou that dwellest between the cherubim, shine forth: Show Me a token for good: Father, glorify Thy name."
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