Remember I told you in the last Gem that I think there is another reason why Elijah was there with Moses and Jesus at the time of the Transfiguration.
What does it mean “they were discussing His departure”? What a curious way to talk about it? This is not a bolt out the blue. It is not a surprise to us. It wasn’t a surprise to the disciples. Or was it?
Remember we were told by Luke already in this chapter 9:21-27 what Jesus had to say about His suffering, death and resurrection. Those were the terms Jesus used to describe it. But now Luke uses the term His Departure. What an interesting term and why is that used?
The use of “His departure” leads us to the other reason behind the appearance of Elijah in this context. Don’t let me mislead you. I do believe that Elijah is just as connected to the theme of Glory as Moses is, although of course Moses is the epitomy of a human being who received the glory of God. But I suspect there is something else related to Elijah that qualifies him for this company on the top of the Mount of Transfiguration. That is related to the means of Elijah’s departure. As you are well aware Elijah did not die; he departed. How appropriate he should be talking to Jesus about His departing. Elijah didn’t die; he was taken up in glory.
As they were walking along and talking, suddenly a chariot of fire appeared, drawn by horses of fire. It drove between the two men, separating them, and Elijah was carried by a whirlwind into heaven.2 Kings 2:11
It is interesting isn’t it that they are talking about Jesus “departure”. But earlier Jesus was talking about His death; the fact that he would be killed. So it seems that Jesus situation is more like Moses than Elijah’s. Ah but there is more to Jesus departure than just His death. Don’t forget there is His resurrection to follow and then His being taken up in glory as well. Just like Elijah. What is also interesting is that the word used for “departure” is literally the word “exodus”. This also brings Moses to the fore as the leader of Israel at the time of the Exodus. In what way is this referring to Jesus Exodus. The only way we can see this as His exodus is by viewing it as His leaving behind this world that He came down to in order to tabernacle here. He the Lord of Glory Who came to this earth and sent up His booth or His bivy (temporary shelter) among us. It is the full implication of all He accomplished in His coming to earth. (Namely Luke 19:10)
It is not likely that Moses and Elijah gave input to Jesus as the three talked but more that they learned from Him more of the significance of what was to happen.
So Elijah is brought into the glory motif and Moses is linked to the departure motif. Time to ponder this some more.
Some have asked why I keep including the above comparison columns of Matthew, Mark and Luke for the earlier parts of the Transfiguration story that we have already covered. I do that to keep the whole before you as we push forward. The whole is an integrated unit. It helps to keep the pieces before us in order to remember the elements as we move through each one.
The only person who cannot learn anything is the one who already is convinced that he knows everything.Joyce Meyer
To see and understand the big picture, you’ve got to meet the Master Painter.Patrick Wisely
Champions are made when no one is watching!Rick Godwin
If there is no struggle, there is no progress.Frederick Douglas
You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.Christopher Robin (Winnie the Pooh)