The voice from heaven reveals who Jesus is

The voice from heaven reveals who Jesus is

When Jesus was transfigured in Matthew 17, the disciples heard a voice from heaven. The voice said:

“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” (Matt. 17:5b ESV)

This is the second time the disciples heard a voice from heaven; the first one was at Jesus’ baptism, and the words were very similar. On each of these occasions, God the Father is confirming who Jesus is. At the transfiguration, the shining clothes and face and the shining cloud all indicate that Jesus is God, that the glory of God is present in Jesus.

So why did the voice from heaven say these words precisely? God is saying things he has said before in the Old Testament. The voice from heaven is quoting three different passages from the Old Testament which together help us understand how important Jesus is.

  1. “This is my beloved Son” is a quote from Psalm 2:7. That psalm speaks of the Anointed Son of God who would rule the nations. No-one would be able to stand up against him, even if all the armies of the world plotted and set themselves against him. Jesus is that Anointed Son. Jesus is the great King who was promised.
  2. “With whom I am well pleased” is a quote from Isaiah 42:1. This is one of the Servant Song passages, speaking of a figure called the Servant who came to suffer and bring justice to the earth. The most famous one of these Servant Songs is the one in Isaiah 53 which speaks of the Servant taking our sins on himself. Jesus is the Suffering Servant Isaiah spoke about, the one whose mission would involve suffering and death to pay for sin.
  3. “Listen to him” is a quote from Deuteronomy 18:18. In this passage, God promised a great prophet, greater than Moses, who all should listen to. This prophet greater than Moses has now come in the form of Jesus. He spoke God words and all his disciples are to listen to him.

Together, this short quote from the voice from heaven builds a well-rounded view of Jesus. Jesus is the great King, the Messiah who was promised. He won’t be like other kings but will suffer and die for the sins of his people (which Jesus had just been speaking about in Matthew 16). And if we understand who it is that we follow, we will listen to him, for his words are the words of God.

Jesus is more than a good teacher, but God himself, the great King, the one who saves his people. That is incredible news.