Nota Bene: I have included artwork which depicts the Transfiguration only in order to show Christ and the three apostles in question. The following excerpt from Johann Gerhard treats of Christ and these apostles in the Garden of Gethsemane. — admin
“But why would Christ select and take with Him nearer to the place of suffering precisely these three: Peter, James, and John? First of all, they had volunteered themselves more than the others. Peter said: Lord, if I have to die with You, yet will I not deny You. James and John volunteered that they really did want to drink of Christ’s cup and were willing to be baptized with the water of tribulation with which Christ was to be baptized, Mat. 20. In order that this reliance upon their own strengths might be extinguished, Christ drew them nearer to Himself. God frequently still operates this way. He lays many great sufferings on you so that you see how completely beyond your power it is to have patience in cross-bearing if God does not give it and remain at our side in the midst of our need. For true Christians must come to the point that they completely sink themselves in God’s power and confess their utter powerlessness, since God’s power is nothing if not powerful in the weak ones, 2 Cor. 12. But whoever is stuck on himself, and does not in genuine sincerity sink himself in God’s goodness and power, such a one will certainly withstand [endure] nothing.”
Blessed Johann Gerhard, An Explanation of the History of the Suffering and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ; Malone, TX: Repristination Press, 1998 [reprinted from the 1663 ed.]; p. 59.