May 01, 2006
And he said to them, "Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power."
And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. And Peter said to Jesus, "Rabbi, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah." For he did not know what to say, for they were terrified. And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, "This is my beloved Son; listen to him." And suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them but Jesus only.
(Mark 9:1-8 ESV)
The Transfiguration. We read about it, we've heard it preached about, and yet I wonder sometimes if we really understand what exactly happened. Jesus has just finished telling His disciples about His death and resurrection. They've just been told that a lot of what they thought was going to happen, wasn't.
I've heard that verese 1 should really go with the previous chapter. Maybe so, but I think it works well with the transfiguration as well. After all, these men saw Christ in all His glory appear before them. They got a glimpse of what we'll all see in the Kingdom. And it was intense.
So intense, and so meaningful, that Peter wanted to stay there. He wanted to build tabernacles for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah and stay there.
We tend to do that, when we have one of those "mountaintop experiences," right? We want to camp out there. And it's not a bad thing to enjoy those moments. But what was being DONE while they were up there? Nothing.
When we have those moments, they are to prepare us for what is to come. God said to them "This is my Son -- do what He says." God emphasized what Christ had been trying to teach them, and that they probably didn't want to believe -- that He was going to die. It had to happen, they couldn't prevent it from happening. But that they had a hope, because there would be a resurrection. He wouldn't stay dead.
I have a feeling that the disciples missed that part. We tend to start thinking of how we're going to respond to someone while they're still talking, and that may have been what the disciples did. They missed the resurrection part, because they were so worried about the death part. We also have to be careful -- when we're in a time of trial, we often miss the resolution that God has for us, the hope that we have that He knows what's best for us, because we're too concerned about the mess we're in, and how we are going to get ourselves out of that mess. Learn from the mess. Listen for God to speak to you in the mess. Use the mess to minister to people around you who are also in the mess. And be ready for a blessing from God that lifts you out of that mess because you've been His servant the entire time.
"This is my beloved Son -- listen to Him."
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