And as they were coming down the mountain, he charged them to tell no one what they had seen, until the Son of Man had risen from the dead. So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what this rising from the dead might mean. And they asked him, “Why do the scribes say that first Elijah must come?” And he said to them, “Elijah does come first to restore all things. And how is it written of the Son of Man that he should suffer many things and be treated with contempt? But I tell you that Elijah has come, and they did to him whatever they pleased, as it is written of him.”
Comment: Here we have the conversation of the Master with His three very close friends. Jesus told them to keep quiet about this experience until after He was resurrected. Usually when Jesus told people not to go public they ignored His request and talked, it seems, to everyone they met. We are told that the three did not talk about it. It reads as if they were totally confused by resurrection talk. Rising from the dead might be a great, but usually pointless, hope. They had seen Jesus raise a little girl from the dead. Then Jesus talked in a way which only an enlightened Jew could be expected to understand. He reminded them that in their scriptures there was a lot of talk about the Messiah suffering (e.g. Isaiah ch 53). And what did he mean by ‘Elijah has come’? That was an OT prophecy – the Messiah’s forerunner would be ‘Elijah’. John the Baptist was identified in several ways as that ‘Elijah’, and he had been beheaded.
Prayer: Help me to understand and appreciate where all of the story of Jesus fits into Your long term plans, O God.