And after six days Jesus takes Peter, James, and John his brother, and brings them up into an high mountain apart,…
On three occasions it is reported that our Lord took three of the disciples apart with him; and it was always the same three. We need not, however, assume that the reported cases were the only cases. Observing them, we note that they were representative instances. In the first case, the raising of the little maid, special witnesses were needed for the surprising miracle, the restoration of the dead. In the other two cases - Transfiguration and Gethsemane - we have glimpses of the private life and experience of Jesus with which the ordinary disciples had no direct concern. It need not have been told us how, or when, or where Jesus conducted his private devotions, or what happened on such occasions. Jesus had these three with him for two reasons.
1. For company.
2. That the revelation of his mystery might be kept for a while, and revealed when the life manifestation was complete, and his Divine Person and mission could be understood. The reason for the selection of these three is to be found in our Lord's estimate of character. He illustrates the Divine election, which is always a Divine selection, in view of fitness for position. In these three men we can see a power of faith, and a power of enthusiastic personal attachment, which suffice to account for their selection.
I. THEIR MISSION WAS TO KEEP THEIR SAVIOUR COMPANY. It is strange that in times of distress and excitement we both crave to be alone, and crave to have some one trustworthy with us. We have mingled feelings - we want to be alone; we cannot bear to be alone. In his fellowship with us in this peculiarity we gain a full impression of our Lord's humanity. It comes out even in a more striking way in Gethsemane.
II. THEIR MISSION WAS TO RECEIVE IMPRESSIONS FROM OUR LORD'S PRIVATE LIFE. It would not have been a private scene if all the disciples had been on the mount. Our Lord had a private life quite distinct from that public life which was the common property of disciples. Our Lord had right to that private life undisturbed. And yet some of the best revelations of his "Person" and "mission" came to view in such strictly private experiences as Gethsemane and Transfiguration; so a selection from the apostolate was permitted to invade his privacy.
III. THEIR MISSION WAS TO KEEP SECRET FOR A TIME THEIR IMPRESSIONS. The twelve would never have kept such a secret. The three might, especially as they really did not understand the scene. They had to keep it as a mystery which time would unfold.
IV. THEIR MISSION WAS TO REVEAL THE MYSTERY OF CHRIST'S PRIVATE LIFE WHEN THAT COULD BE MADE EFFECTIVE. See St. Peter's use of his experiences (2 Peter 1:16-18). - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart,