And it came to pass, as they departed from him, Peter said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here…
1. The wish Peter here expresses is exceedingly natural.
2. It is seemingly pious.
3. It expresses a desire not altogether free from selfishness.
4. Like other selfish wishes, Peter's was mistaken. "Not knowing what he said" indicates the blind manner in which it was cherished and expressed.
5. We have said enough already to indicate why Peter's wish was not gratified. But why, if in form it had to be denied, might it not have been granted in substance? Supposing that Peter's main object in wishing to remain there was the better and holier mood which he would have been able to maintain, why might not the spiritual condition have been granted to him, even though the surrounding circumstances could not be perpetuated? The same questions in effect are sometimes asked now. Say some, "The Lord is able at once to sanctify you wholly." But to ask why, if God is able to sanctify us, we are not sanctified instantaneously by His power, is very much the same as to ask, why does not God make us other than men? Why does He not change us into things into which He can put whatsoever He pleases, while, for the possession of it, as we have no will in the matter, we shall be entitled to no praise, as for the lack of it we are subject to no blame? The answer is, because He has destined us for something nobler; that, while free to choose the wrong, ours might be the merit of making the right the object of our desires and aspirations, and prayers and strivings, until having, through diligent and untiring effort, gained the victory over evil, and attained to the possession of all that is well-pleasing in His sight, we hear from His lips the eulogy which can never be pronounced on those who are made, only on those who do, and labour, and fight, "Well done, good and faithful servant," &c.
(W. Landels, D,D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And it came to pass, as they departed from him, Peter said unto Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias: not knowing what he said.
WEB: It happened, as they were parting from him, that Peter said to Jesus, "Master, it is good for us to be here. Let's make three tents: one for you, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah," not knowing what he said.