Summary: If we’re not careful we can allow the "good" thing in our lives to distract us from the most important thing God wants us to see.
OPEN: Back in 1884 John Henry Patterson formed the National Cash Register Co. and he led the company to prominence and profitability. He made it successful because he paid attention to details and kept an eye on each dept. in the company.
At one point, it became apparent that the factory was having a high number of burglaries. Patterson was convinced that the security staff was not doing their job. So, one night, he put on a phosphorescent suit and rode up to the plant on a white horse. He jimmied opened the door to the tool room, helped himself to several spare parts and rode off, without being challenged.
The next morning, he replaced the security staff.
APPLY: Now, why did Patterson replace the security staff?
He did that because they weren’t doing their job.
They weren’t paying attention.
Here in Matthew 17, we have God trying to get the attention of Peter, James and John. It’s fairly obvious that this was the reason Jesus bro’t them to this mountain. A lot of times, Jesus would take his men aside for a time of teaching or prayer, but this time, it’s a little different.
No sooner had they reached the pinnacle when Jesus turns around… and his entire appearance has changed. His face shines like the sun, and His garments became as white as the light.
As if that weren’t enough, two men appear beside Jesus. We’re not told how the disciples knew who they were but they suddenly realized these two men were Moses and Elijah.
The apostles are understandably excited.
Notice what Peter says to Jesus in Matthew 17:4, "Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters— one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah."
Suddenly a cloud descends on them and surrounds them. Matthew 17:5 tells us a powerful voice speaks from the cloud “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”
The excitement of the Disciples turns to trembling and fear and they fall facedown on the ground. Verses 7 & 8 tells us “Jesus came and touched them. ‘Get up’ he said. ’Don’t be afraid.’” And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.
Now there are three things that I saw in this passage.
1st - God wanted to get Peter, James and John’s attention
Can you imagine how dramatic this experience must have been to them? God designed this encounter to be something they would never forget… and they didn’t.
Long after Jesus had risen from the dead, this scene was still burned in their minds
· John might have been referring to this event - of seeing Jesus’ transfigured - when he wrote to fellow Christians: This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all." 1 John 1:5
· And Peter writes in 2 Peter 1:16-18
“…we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.’ We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.”
God wanted their attention… and He got it.
God has always put a high priority on getting our attention.
In Isaiah 28:23 He tells His people: “Listen and hear my voice; pay attention and hear what I say.”
In Deuteronomy 7:12 He tells Israel: “If you pay attention to these laws and are careful to follow them, then the LORD your God will keep his covenant of love with you…”
Why should we pay attention to God?
Well, Deuteronomy 7:12 says: God has a “covenant of love” He wants to share with us. He wants give us the full measure of His blessings in our lives because He cares for us.
But the only way we’re going to be sure of getting those blessings is by paying attention and following His commands and desires for our lives.
When we do that God declares: “I know the plans I have for you… plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
So, the question then becomes, do I want God’s plans for my future… or would I rather do it myself?
ILLUS: A boy and his mother were in a drug store and there was candy on the counter and the owner spotted the boy looking at the candy, when the mother went up to pay the owner said to the boy “you want some of this candy”.
The boy nodded, and the manager said “well go ahead and take some”.