GOD'S PERFECT SPEECH
“Lifting up their eyes, they saw no one, save Jesus only." Matt. 17:8
The transfiguration had been a night scene, and the whiteness of the light radiating from the Person of Christ had been more brilliant and glorious than the dazzling splendor of the snows on Hermon; but the light had passed, and morning was breaking in the eastern sky, with its suggestion of the coming day. But a few moments ago Jesus seemed to be no longer Jesus of Nazareth, but the veritable Son of God—God the Son. But a few moments ago Moses and Elijah were there. But a few moments ago was heard the incoherent suggestion of Peter—"Let us make here three tabernacles." All this has now passed, and waiting in the quiet hush of the solemn morning hour, upon the mount, see WHAT FOLLOWS THE TRANSFIGURATION.
Moses and Elijah have gone, gone also is the flashing splendor that lit the night, silenced is the speech that fell upon the astonished ears of Peter, James, and John.
Imagine the disciples for a moment as they looked around them,—the silence after the speech, and the loneliness after comradeship with celestial visitors, and the usualness of everything. “Lifting up their eyes, they saw no one, save Jesus only." (Matt. 17:8)
It was a solemn moment. Moses and Elijah had passed, the glory had vanished, the heavenly voice was silent, and they saw “Jesus only." He was the same Jesus that they had known. Oh, the exquisite beauty of the statement. “Jesus came and touched them and said, Arise, and be not afraid." (Matt. 17:7) It was the old familiar touch, the same touch that they had felt so often before. Who shall say that when talking with them, His hand had not rested upon them; or walking with them, His hand had not arrested them, and stayed them for a moment while He spoke to them? The old touch, the human touch of the Son of Man, a Man among them once again, just as they had known Him. It was the old familiar voice, the same Jesus, “Jesus only."
The same, but yet so utterly different! "Jesus only," containing in His own Person as now they knew, a glory that was hidden, a veiled splendor that at any moment might flash out, yet hidden for some inscrutable reason. How strangely these men were perplexed will be gathered from all the history of the days that followed the transfiguration until Calvary was reached. They never could think of Him again as they had thought of Him before. For once they had been permitted to look at Him changed, altered, transfigured, shining with all the splendor of that indwelling glory; and even though He had come back to the old form, and the voice of their Friend and Teacher, and the touch of the Man Jesus, they knew that underneath the veil of that humanity there was hidden a radiant splendor.
In those last days how they would watch Him, and wonder whether at some moment the glory would not flame again in the sight of men. He was never the same again because they had seen more of Him. He was to them "Jesus only," forevermore the Center of all things. He remained; the One Who fulfilled the promises of the past, and realized all the hopes created by the messages of God. And not merely was He the One in Whom all past history culminated, but the One from Whom all future history should take its form. From that moment until today every upward movement, every movement that has had for its issue the bettering of human condition, the ennobling of the race, all have found their inspiration in the thought, teaching, character, and Person of Christ. He was the essential Light of men, the Light of the world, and all the men who have flung light across the pathway of human life from that moment until now have not been the Light, but light-bearers, and they have lit their torches from the Light, the Son of God.
“Jesus only"—finality, GOD'S PERFECT SPEECH. All the new in the future will be but the more perfect comprehension of Him, and the great ones of all the coming days will learn what He meant, when in simple speech He spoke great eternal truths, which the listening ears of men did not at the time perfectly understand.
If the first impression produced upon the minds of the apostles as they looked around them was that of silence, now that the voice had ceased; and loneliness, now that Moses and Elijah had gone; and the usualness of everything, now that the unusual had passed away; the answer to that first impression was found in the presence of "Jesus only," for if no heavenly voice sounded, His speech was heard. If Moses and Elijah had passed, He remained, the perpetual Comrade of saintly souls for all the future. If the unusualness had ceased, they began to find that they were now in the company of One Who could transmute the usual into the unusual, Who could pass with them into the valley, into the home life, into the service of all the coming years until the end; and touching the commonplaces of life, make them flash with splendor, as His body of humiliation shone with glory upon that mount of transfiguration. This was the first thing that these men realized as they rose from their overcoming fear. The vision had passed, Moses and Elijah had gone, the voice was silent, "Jesus only" remained.