Jesus goes off, away from the crowds, to have a bit of quiet time with this inner band of His. Here is the strategic point, now. The key to the future plan is in this small group. If that key can be filed into shape, cleaned of rust, and gotten to fit and turn in the lock, all may yet be well. The nub of all future growth is here. With simple, keen tact He begins His questionings, leading on, until Peter responds with his splendid declaration for which the church has ever been grateful to him. |Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.| It comes to Jesus' ears as a grateful drink of cold water to a thirsty man on a hot day in a dusty road.
Then to this leader and to the inner circle, He reveals the changed plan. For the first time the word church is used, that peculiar word which later becomes the name of the new organization, |a company of persons called out.| He is going to build up a church upon this statement of faith from Peter's lips, and this church will hold the relation to the kingdom of key-holder, administrator. The church is to be a part of the administration of the coming kingdom.
And so Jesus begins His difficult, sad task of preparing this band for the event six months off in Jerusalem. There is to be a tragedy before the building of the church which will hold the kingdom keys. So thoroughly does Peter fail to understand Jesus, that with stupid boldness he attempts to |rebuke| Him. Peter |took| Jesus. A great sight surely! He slips his hand in Jesus' arm and takes Him off to one side to -- straighten -- Him -- out. This Jesus is being swept off His feet by undue emotional enthusiasm. Peter would fix it up and save the day. It would take Peter to do that.
And this is a sample of the best leadership in this inner group. Things were in bad shape. All the machinery hung upon a little pin holding two parts together. That pin threatens to bend and break for lack of temper. The Son of God leaves all else and turns aside to attend to a pin. The future of the kingdom hung upon three undisciplined country fishermen. The transfiguration spells out God's dire extremity in getting a footing in human hearts and brains for His plans. Something must be done.
Mark what that something was to be: so simple in itself, so tremendous in its results. They were to be allowed to see Jesus. That would be enough. The Jesus within would look out through the body He was using. The real Jesus within looked out through the Jesus they knew. He let these men see Himself a few moments; simply that. All of that, yet simply that. They were His lovers. They were to be sorely tried by coming events. They were to be the leaders. To love, for a time of sore need, for service's sake, for the sake of the multitudes whose leaders they were to be, for the saving of the church plan, and beyond of the kingdom plan, the Jesus within looked out for a few moments into their faces.
It was the same plan used later in getting another leader. Jesus had to go outside these men for a man with qualifications needed by the situation that these men did not have. The human element again in evidence. Paul says, |When I could not see for the glory of that light.| That light bothered his eyes. The old ambitions were blurred. He couldn't see them. The outlines dimmed, the old pedigree and plans faded out. They could no longer be seen for the glory of that light. It is the plan the Master has ever used, and still does. It is irresistible.