Summary: It is from the mountaintop spiritual experiences that we gain the encouragement and strength to face the difficult times.
A Study of the Book of Mark
Sermon # 31
“A Mountaintop Experience With God”
The disciples were reeling from the revelation that Jesus would suffer many things, be rejected and be put to death but would rise again (8:31). And even beyond that He issues a call to complete surrender and commitment to self denial and complete obedience. But now, almost in the same breath, He tells the assembled multitude that some of them will not die before they see the Kingdom of God coming in glory. Having declared all of this, Jesus now takes his inner circle of three of his disciples up on the mountain, where they will have experience standing on top of the world with Jesus. What a spectacular time of spiritual encouragement it was.
Wouldn’t it be great if all of life could be lived on the mountaintop? But the true is that life is not lived on the mountaintop. Life is primarily lived in the valley. It is from the mountaintop experiences that we gain the encouragement and strength to face the difficult times.
Today we are going to very deliberately dwell on the majesty and awesomeness of the God whom we serve.
We all have our share of hardships, sickness, and prob-lems but He also allows us to experience a few moun-taintop spiritual experiences along the way, times when we are able to see His glory and His power at work.
“And He said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will not taste death till they see the kingdom of God present with power." (2) Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and led them up on a high mountain apart by them-selves; and He was transfigured before them. (3) His clothes became shining, exceedingly white, like snow, such as no launderer on earth can whiten them. (4) And Elijah appeared to them with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. (5) Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, "Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; and let us make three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah"—(6) because he did not know what to say, for they were greatly afraid. (7) And a cloud came and overshadowed them; and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, "This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!"
(8) Suddenly, when they had looked around, they saw no one anymore, but only Jesus with themselves. (9) Now as they came down from the mountain, He commanded them that they should tell no one the things they had seen, till the Son of Man had risen from the dead. (10) So they kept this word to themselves, questioning what the rising from the dead meant.”
First, The Purpose of Mountaintop Experiences (9:1-2a)
“And He said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will not taste death till they see the kingdom of God present with power." (2)Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and led them up on a high mountain apart by them-selves.”
In verse one, we read that Jesus said, “Assuredly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will not taste death till they see the kingdom of God…” What He was talking about the three disciples who go with him up the mountain will literally see the glory of the Kingdom. For in verse two Mark tells that, “Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up to a high mountain.” Not all of the disciples had the mountaintop experience; only those would need it the most. They were; Peter - who would become the spokesman for the group, John - the apostle who would live the longest and James - the first disciple to be martyred
Mark tells us that Jesus “led them up on a high mountain apart by themselves.” The text does not tell us which mountain, some commentators have believed it to be Mt Tabor (not likely since there was a Roman fortress there at the time) – but it is more likely that it was Mt. Hermon which is the highest mountain in the whole region (9,400’).
But it was a place that was isolated, where they could be alone with God. In order to have intimate fellowship with God it is often necessary to seek seclusion from the world and its influences. The reason that we don’t experience mountaintop experiences more is because we are too caught up with what is going on in our lives in the here and no, and do not schedule time to be alone with God.
Luke in his account tells us that Jesus began to pray when they arrived at the top of the mountain.