Summary: A glimpse of glory will keep you going.
A Mountain Top Experience
Rev. Brian Bill
January 28-29, 2017
What one incident or event comes to your mind when you think of the life of Jesus? Turn to the person next to you and share what it is…
There was one miracle foremost in the Apostle Peter’s memory, so much so that he wrote about it more than 30 years after it happened. According to 2 Peter 1:16-18, a glimpse of God’s glory had so gripped him that he couldn’t stop talking about it: “For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,’ we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain.”
This eyewitness encounter showcased the power, majesty, honor and glory of Jesus Christ. And notice that this was not just Peter’s perspective because he uses the emphatic phrase, “we ourselves,” referring to his buddies James and John who were also there.
I love how Mark lays out the flow of events in his gospel. The big idea last weekend was this: Salvation is free, but discipleship will cost you your life from Mark 8:34: “‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” We’re called to line up our desires, to deny ourselves, to die to sin, and to devote ourselves to follow Him. We learned that we’re as close to Christ as we want to be.
This is certainly one of the most challenging statements Jesus ever made. After driving this truth deeply into our souls, our passage today showcases who Jesus is and that there’s a better world waiting for Christ-followers. Here’s the sermon summary: A glimpse of glory will keep us going.
As I prayed about how to preach through this passage, I decided to approach the sermon differently. Instead of concluding with a number of action steps, my aim is simply to have our view of God grow grander. Specifically, I’m praying that we will catch a glimpse of the glory of Jesus Christ and that this will motivate us to gather, grow, give and go like never before.
I like this quote from A.W. Tozer’s book The Knowledge of the Holy: “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us…the cause of many of our modern spiritual woes is the loss in today’s church of a lofty concept of God.” He argues persuasively that the cure lies in our rediscovery of God’s majesty. By the end of our time today, I’m hoping that our minds will be blown [demonstrate] by the bigness, the majesty, the greatness, the goodness and the glory of Jesus Christ.
A generation ago J.B. Phillips wrote a book called, Your God Is Too Small. This captures the struggle many of us have because our God is much smaller than the God of the Bible. I long for each of us to grow in our grasp of how great God really is because it’s so easy to fall into an inadequate view of the Almighty.
Our aim then is to adore Jesus Christ and worship Him for who He is. A glimpse of His glory will keep us going.
As we move through this passage, we’ll begin by noting the setting. We’ll then see the splendor of Jesus, which is followed by a strange solution from Peter. We’ll then consider the supremacy of Jesus, which is followed by some struggles the disciples had.
1. The setting. Jesus is still in the area known as Caesarea Philippi when we read these words in Mark 9:2: “And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John…” It’s interesting that Mark mentions the passing of six days. I wonder if Jesus is deliberately drawing a connection to Exodus 24:15-16 when Moses went up on a mountain and the glory of God covered it for six days before he was called “out of the midst of the cloud.” These six days served as a time of preparation for revelation from God.
It was not uncommon for Jesus to take Peter, James and John aside for some extra training – He was modeling the importance of intentional mentoring for these future church leaders. As you may recall, they had the privilege of being in the room when Jarius’ daughter was raised from the dead (Mark 5:37) and this inner circle was invited to be with Jesus when He poured His heart out in prayer on the Mount of Olives (Matthew 26:37).