Summary: God's glory can be seen and experienced through worshiping and serving.
A. Have you ever had a “Mountain Top” Experience?
1. “Mountain Top” Experiences are those moments in our lives when we feel God’s presence in a glorious and powerful way - in a way we don’t experience every day.
2. Perhaps for you, one of those moments came when you were in a beautiful and inspiring place – like on a mountain top, or at the ocean, or at the Grand Canyon – And you felt God’s presence and glory.
3. Or maybe for you, the time came in a moment of crisis or desperation – perhaps in a hospital room, or on your knees in prayer, or not knowing how a bill would get paid or where you would find the next job or place to live – but then you felt God’s presence and glory, and a peace came over you, or God stepped in and miraculously provided what was needed.
4. Those moments are precious to us and are unforgettable.
5. We wish we could somehow hold on to them or bottle them up for a future time, but those kinds of experiences can’t be controlled or manufactured.
B. Today, as we return to our sermon series on the life of Peter, called “The Touch of the Master’s Hand,” we will witness Peter, James and John as they literally have a “mountain top” experience.
1. Today’s story from the life of Peter, happens about a week after the last episode where we watched Peter declare that Jesus was the Christ, but then watched as he had to be corrected by Jesus when Peter told Jesus that he would not be killed in Jerusalem.
2. Peter was still learning and growing, and we will see some more growing pains going on in today’s story.
3. Let’s see what Peter learned on the mountain top, and what we need to learn from his experience.
I. The Story
A. Although today’s story is told in Matthew and Mark’s Gospels, I want us to study from Luke’s version, because Luke adds some details that are not included by the other two writers.
1. The story begins: 28 Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray. (Luke 9:28)
2. So, what mountain was it that Jesus took them upon?
a. Over the years, some people have suggested that the mountain was Mt. Tabor, but later research has revealed the site of a Roman fort and garrison on Mt. Tabor, which would not have been favorable for a private place of prayer or for a transfiguration.
b. The mountain was most likely Mt. Hermon, which sits about 25 miles north of the Sea of Galilee in the region called Caesarea Philippi.
c. Matthew 16:13 tells us that Jesus was in the region of Caesarea Philippi when Peter had made the great confession in the story we looked at last time, and so we know that Jesus had been at the foot of Mt. Hermon in the previous days and so it makes sense that that is the mountain where this took place.
3. And what did Jesus initially go up on the mountain to do? To pray.
a. So here we see Jesus seeking out another opportunity to pray – Jesus was so committed to praying!
b. It is no surprise that some of the most significant experiences of Jesus’ earthly life occurred when He was praying – that ought to teach us something, don’t you think?
B. The story continues: 29 And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white. (Luke 9:29)
1. Both Matthew and Mark described what happened saying that Jesus was transfigured before them.
a. The Greek word for “transfigured” is the one we get our English word “metamorphosis” which means a change on the outside which comes from within.
b. Jesus was changed from an ordinary looking man into a figure of light with brilliant beams radiating from His body.
c. The reason His clothes became white was from the light emanating from within.
2. You can see how Luke was trying to describe this other-worldly experience, saying: “His face was altered, and His clothing became dazzling white.”
a. There is a big difference between the glory that emanated from Jesus and the glory that had emanated from Moses when he came down from Mt. Sinai.
b. Moses’ face had glowed from being exposed to the eternal light of God that he been in the presence of.
1. Kind of like something that has glow in the dark properties after it has been put under a lamp – it glows from the light it had been exposed to.
c. In contrast to that, the light that shone from Jesus emanated from within Him.