Summary: This is on the Transfiguration.
What are our greatest needs? Food? Clothing? Shelter? Those things certainly are important, but is there a greater need?
Set the stage: in Matthew 16, Peter confesses Jesus as the Christ. Jesus then went on to tell his disciples that he would soon be rejected and put to death. Jesus then tells his disciples that we, as his disciples, must take up our cross and follow him.
Read Matthew 17:1-9.
This event occurred six days after Jesus had predicted his death. The disciples still didn’t understand why Jesus was here. They still had visions of a political or military Messiah.
They go to the mountain. It was the inner circle. Peter, James and John went with him. They saw here the glory of God as Jesus appearance was transformed from the inside out. Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus. Moses represents the law. Elijah represents the prophets. Both the law and prophets pointed to Jesus. We find some things that we need as well.
1. We need to leave the MOUNTAIN.
As a teenager, our church took a mission trip to Colorado Springs, to New Hope in the Rockies. We camped. We worked. We had fun. We toured the area. We went up Pikes Peak. We saw all kinds of wonderful things. We couldn’t stay there forever. We had to leave the mountains and drive across Kansas.
Peter wanted to stay on the mountain. He said, “It is good that we are here.” In other words, “I don’t want to leave.” He wanted to build tents for Jesus, Moses and Elijah. Peter was a man of action, and he wanted to stay put on the mountain. He was so awestruck that he didn’t want that moment to end.
Perhaps we have experienced something like this. It could have been a spiritual high. It could have been anything. We soon realize that we can’t hold on to that forever.
The disciples needed this experience so they could face what was coming in the near future. Jesus’ life would soon climax in a frenzied week that would start with adulation and end in death. The mountaintop is the preparation for the daily grind.
We have mountaintop experiences spiritually to get us ready for the daily grind. We are never promised an easy life. Most of our lives are lived in the valley. Jesus and the disciples were on the mountain probably for only a few hours. The mountaintop only lasts a short time. We live much longer in the day-to-day world.
We can’t hold the moment forever. We can’t live on the mountaintop. We also learn that…
2. We need to HUSH up and HEAR God.
Mark’s account says that Peter spoke because he didn’t know what to say. Have you ever known someone who spoke even when they weren’t sure what to say? Luke’s account says that Peter didn’t know what he was saying. Have you ever said something and not known what you were saying? In addition to being a man of action, Peter was a man who would speak first and think later. Have you ever known someone like that? Sometimes we feel like we have to speak up. We chime in acting as though we are an expert, and wind up looking rather foolish because we don’t know what we’re talking about.
Sometimes we just need to be quiet. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.” We need to listen to God.
Notice that will Peter was still yapping the bright cloud of God’s glory came, and God spoke. He abruptly interrupted Peter. It was as if God was saying to Peter, “Hush up and listen.”
Have you ever tried to listen and talk at the same time? Have you ever tried to explain something to someone who wouldn’t be quiet? Despite what people say about multi-tasking, it is impossible to talk and listen at the same time.
You’ve probably heard the old cliché about why we have two ears and one mouth. We should listen twice as much as we talk, or listening is twice as hard as talking. The apostle James (1:19) instructs us, “Be quick to hear, slow to speak.”
When we pray, we should have time when we are quiet so we can listen to what God says. Prayer is more than taking our wish list to God. It involves listening to what he says to us.
God speaks from the bright cloud, the same words he spoke when John the Baptist baptized Jesus. Notice the command: listen to him. Listening means to hear, understand and put in action. It’s not enough to just hear. It’s not enough to just understand. We have to put into action. I can tell my kids to clean up their rooms. Am I happy if they just hear me? Am I happy if they just know what I want them to do? I am happy when they actually go in with the shovel and bulldozer and clean it up. We have to put into action what Jesus tells us, and we only know what to do when we are quiet and listen. We also learn…