Thoughts on Matthew 17:11

Matthew 17:1-13 (ESV)And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were terrified. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and have no fear.” And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only. And as they were coming down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, “Tell no one the vision, until the Son of Man is raised from the dead.” And the disciples asked him, “Then why do the scribes say that first Elijah must come?” He answered, “Elijah does come, and he will restore all things. But I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but did to him whatever they pleased. So also the Son of Man will certainly suffer at their hands.” Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them of John the Baptist.

Why would Jesus say that Elijah “will restore all things,” when it is Jesus who is the Messiah?

I think we get some insight in the very last verses of the Old Testament…

Malachi 4:5-6 (HCSB)“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.”

Restoration came through Elijah (John the Baptist) because he is the one who announced the arrival of the long awaited Messiah. It is by that announcement that, “he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers.”

What It Means For Us…

No one by default is a Christian. One must turn to Christ and trust in Him to be called a Christian. The proclamation of such was to be the ministry of John the Baptist (as prophesied by an angel to his father Zechariah, before John was even conceived)…

Luke 1:16-19 (ESV)And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.” And Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” And the angel answered him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news.

Do you believe in the restoration power of the “good news” (the gospel)?

The power of that announcement is what motivated Paul to later share this with the believers in Rome…

Romans 1:16-17 (ESV) For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

…and it should motivate us to share it as well.

Godspeed, to the brethren!

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