John Calvin writes on today’s passage that Elijah’s restoration “does not mean that John the Baptist restored them perfectly, but that he conveyed and handed them over to Christ, who would complete the work which he had begun.” In His ministry, atonement, and resurrection, Jesus finished the task necessary to bring repentance to Israel and the nations. Today He uses us to proclaim this work to the world. When was the last time you preached the Gospel to someone in need?
In placing the transfiguration of Christ in between two predictions of suffering and death (Matt. 16:21–28; 17:9–13), God provides assurance that trouble will not always be the lot of His Son and His people. When adversity tempts us to despair of all hope, let us remember Jesus, whose shining visage anticipated the glory of His resurrection, in which we will one day share when His righteous ones shine like the sun (13:43).