Matthew 17:1-9 I can’t believe how often I forget how glorious and tremendous the presence of the Lord is. So often I spend my time looking for a sign to worship, when the Almighty God himself comes to dwell IN me to reveal his glory to me day by day if I will listen and walk accordingly. I’m ashamed of how often I forget the magnitude of YHWH. Oh God grant me repentance.
1And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. 3And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. 4And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” 5He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son,a with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” 6When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were terrified. 7But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and have no fear.” 8And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.9And as they were coming down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, “Tell no one the vision, until the Son of Man is raised from the dead.”
The thing I find most amazing about this scenario is the difference between the disciples experiencing two Jewish timeless (dead) celebrities hanging out with Jesus, all of them shining in white – compared to experiencing the perceptible presence of God as a shining cloud.
But first I need to find out what this word “transfigured” means…It would appear the original word is much like the word we now use being: metamorphosis. So Peter, James & John go for a hike with Jesus and suddenly he changes into something that sounds like what we imagine angels to looks like. His face shone, like the sun! His clothes changed colour, from whatever they were to white. If that wasn’t a crazy enough experience for the 3, two dead celebrities (the most celebrated celebrities of their culture) show up to the party and talk with Jesus. I can imagine Peters reaction here is motivated by shock and amazement. He starts bustling around, offering to cater for the situation to make it last as long as possible.
On a side note, I do wonder why Peter said “It’s good that we are here.” I’m wondering what was going on in Peter’s head? If he were like me he would be thinking to himself; “Ahah! If all those people in my culture who think I’m crazy for following Jesus could just see this. All they talk about is Moses and Elijah! If they see Jesus hanging out with Moses and Elijah maybe they will treat us disciples with more respect. We could be exalted in our culture if people know that we’re in contact with Moses and Elijah!” I can’t deny that a shameful thought like that probably would have passed through my mind – I wonder if Peter had a similar motivation in mind?
The whole ordeal is amazing! Jesus shining bright. Moses and Elijah. Frankly- as I read it I can’t believe Peter’s ability to keep it together. But I’m glad he did because what’s about to happen is gin to blow his socks off.
A cloud. A bright cloud. A bright cloud overshadows them. And then they hear a voice saying “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him“… I have to be honest. The cloud and voice, in my opinion, doesn’t sound that intense!? Yet when the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were terrified. What a contrast! From Peter bustling around trying to capitalize on the visit of two Jewish megastars to suddenly being floored, face to the ground, shaking in his boots.
The glory of the presence of the Lord! How much we underestimate the power and worth of our God. In my weakness I would easily mistake the visitation of Moses and Elijah to be a more exciting, and faith compelling event that the presence of God coming in a cloud. But here God shows that every sign, gift, prophesy – everything God puts in our path to point to him is really nothing compared to the glory found in him alone. Nothing compares to our God. He won’t be upstaged. He won’t share the spotlight. He himself is what our eyes, ears, hearts, minds and souls were meant to feast on. He made us to enjoy him!
Oh Lord. I miss this all the time! I’m so sorry. Forgive me Lord, I want to move past my selfish pursuit of a supernatural experience and pursue you alone! You the one from which all glory comes and you are the one for which my hearts longs. I know that in the coming verses you are going to be talking about faith. Faith like a child. My faith is like a stubborn old man Lord. I’m so ashamed–even afraid. Take everything away from me Lord if only to give me faith. My life without you is a snare to myself and others, but my life with you is total satisfaction even if I have nothing but you! Forgive me of my unbelief Lord. Heal my of my unbelief. Fill my with your Holy Spirit and give me grace to follow you Jesus! Another day spent serving myself, and I’m left feeling sick – I know that’s not your way. Make me like a child Father please. Dad, my only hope and my only source of strength. I don’t deserve to sit in your house, but because of your renowned mercy and your precious love that my heart was made to receive – I’m asking. Be gracious over me again. Lead me on the way of holiness and hold my hand the whole time. I slip, I get distracted. Make me a man like your son Jesus that I might stand with strength and lead others in his way.
Thank you for your grace. My merciful king. My God. My Dad.