Study of Matthew 17:1-13
6. a. The word exodus—the literal translation of the word departure used in the NIV—reinforces my first thought of why Moses was there. Also, Moses was given the law—representing the first covenant—which had become so misused and abused. Jesus came to fulfill the original intent of the law and establish the new covenant.
Elijah is often considered the most important prophet. Together Moses and Elijah represent that the law and the prophets support Jesus in His messianic mission. (footnote in Spirit Filled Life Bible Copyright 1991)
Another point I found very interesting in Pulpit Commentary : Elijah never died. He was whisked away to heaven. “And as for Moses, God, his heavenly Friend, closed his eyes, and then hid his body from mortal sight, and, the mysterious words of Jude (ver. 9) would seem to tell us, from mortal corruption.”
The transfiguration, the heavenly visitors, the conversation, and the audible voice of God all served to strengthen Jesus in the days of agony to come and served to strengthen the three disciples for the remainder of their lives and mission.
b. According to Luke 9:31, Jesus, Moses, and Elijah “were speaking about his exodus which was going to be fulfilled in Jerusalem.” From Aramaic Bible in Plain English
Young’s Literal Translation employs the word outgoing. Several other versions use “departure.” Many others use “decease” or “death.”
c. This scene should have caused Peter to realize the validity of Jesus’ words concerning His coming crucifixion and resurrection.
7. a. Peter in his exuberance didn’t really know what to say but as usual was unable to say nothing. Peter perhaps wanted to prolong the visitation by erecting three booths for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah. I’ve heard this was a reference to the Feast of Tabernacles.
b. Peter was focusing on the experience rather than the purpose, I believe. That’s what I would have done. God interrupted to reinforce who Jesus was, who sent Him, and said “Listen to Him.” It jolted them out of the mode they were in and got them back on the right track.
c. God commanded them to, “Listen to Him.” He taught them that Jesus was His Son, He was greatly loved by God, and God was well pleased with Him. He also taught them that what Jesus had to say was vital.
8. a. John the Baptist was even believed to be Elijah by some. He announced his mission to prepare the way for the Messiah. He called the people to repent and turn their hearts back to God rather than merely serving Him outwardly.
b. John was mocked by the Pharisees and imprisoned because of his prophetic mission. He also died as a result. Jesus was also reviled by the Pharisees and executed.
c. Jesus said, “Elijah IS coming, and will restore ALL things.” The following sentence changes to past tense. It seems Jesus was referring to the fact that Elijah and He will come a second time.