When Not To Talk, Part 2


‘After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. Peter said to Jesus, ‘Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.’ While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!’ Matthew 17:1-5

During the events of the transfiguration as recorded in our text, one would reasonably expect that Peter would be silent just like John and James and would possibly try to make sense of the unfolding events.

However, the fifth verse of our text tells us that while Peter was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them and a voice from the cloud said: ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!’

We may possibly suggest as follows: the fact that Peter was interrupted, indicated that something more important was about to be said and it was about to be said by God the Father! It was like saying, Peter! Will you keep quiet and let us listen to divine instruction? Yes, it was indeed like saying to Peter: Shush! you are not the one that needed to be heard now.

The story of constructing three shelters is of zero significance at this moment. The Holy One of Israel was about to make an all-important declaration! ‘This is my Son, to whom you must listen!’

Clearly, there are situations when it is important not to talk. The latter part of Proverbs 11:12b says: ‘……… the one who has understanding holds their tongue.’ Jesus knew when to talk and when to be silent.

When a woman was brought before Him, reportedly caught in adultery, they asked Him what He would do. Of course, Jesus saw the flaw in their report as that woman would not have committed adultery all by herself!

He knew they were trying to entrap him. He said a few words whilst writing on the ground. He then stooped down, writing on the ground again. He was silent! Let us imbibe listening skills as they are important for us as God’s people.

‘Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?’ They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, ‘Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.’ Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ ‘No one, sir,’ she said. ‘Then neither do I condemn you,’ Jesus declared. ‘Go now and leave your life of sin.’ John.8:1-11


Sovereign God of heaven, we ask today for the wisdom to discern when not to talk. Help us to be swift to hear, slow to speak and slow to be angry. May your holy word guide us in all things through your Only Son. Amen.


"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

John 16:33