Summary: God uses mountain top experiences in our lives and the lives of others to prepare us for living in the real world down in the valley.
Title: What Happens On the Mountain… Shouldn't Stay On the Mountain
Text: Matthew 17:1-9
Thesis: God uses mountain top experiences to prepare us for living in the valley.
Transfiguration Sunday is a day we reflect on perhaps the ultimate of mountain top experiences
in which we are privileged to experience a bit of what Peter, James and John experienced... and we too hear the voice of God speaking to them and making known to them the fact that Jesus is indeed the Son of God. It is also an occasion for us to examine the story to see what we may take from that experience that might be helpful us.
The ad people who work tirelessly to promote tourism in Las Vegas have happened upon a powerful catch phrase in “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” is boldly splashed across the header of the visit Las Vegas website suggesting that you can come to Vegas and be assured that no matter how debauched you get… no one will ever know.
The Urban Dictionary takes a stab at explaining the catch phrase, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” explaining that if it happened in Vegas it only happened once and only in Vegas. And if it happened in Vegas, hopefully it happened far enough away that it does not have a negative effect on here and now. The implication is that anyone who wasn’t there does not need to know what happened in Vegas and it’s just best to move on and forget about it.
However there are a couple of caveats to the hope that “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.”
1. One is this, “If it happens in Vegas and I see it, I’m telling everyone!
2. Another thing about “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” is the fact that it may happen in Vegas but it sticks with you for life!
3. And third, I read recently that human resource teams regularly frequent the social media uses of potential hires to see if they can find personal information about them. If it’s posted somewhere and if there are pictures posted somewhere… it doesn’t stay in Vegas.
In our story today Jesus took three of his disciples with him on a little jaunt to a mountain. It was a get-away of sorts but not with the intent of living it up and cutting a wide swath in a distant city. And even though, while on their way home from having been on the mountain, Jesus essentially told his disciples, “What happened on the mountain stays on the mountain,” it did not stay on the mountain.
Today we get to see something of a movie trailer or a synopsis of what happened on that night. And perhaps one way to unpack the text is to explore some lessons we can pick up from what happened on the mountain.
The first lesson from Jesus’ mountain experience is about how he prayed. The lesson from the mountain is about praying in an attempt to discern God’s will and guidance for his life and death.
I. Seeking Direction
About eight days later Jesus took Peter, James and John to a mountain to pray. Luke 9:28