Where: The mountaintop.
Who: The lucky three: Peter, James, and John.
What: Jesus leads the three on a climb up the mountainside.
A climb that will change their lives forever.
They trudge their way through trees and rocks hundreds of feet up the lofty mountain, a long and arduous climb. The men labor to breath; their lungs work overtime. Small beads of sweat expand into streamlets emptying into their beards. Their leg muscles feel heavy and begin to burn.
Each step puts more distance behind them and the swarming crowds, the hypocritical Pharisees, and the demands on Jesus.
Yet, in their climb, they enjoy softly brushed clouds against a swash of blue sky, a cooler temperature, and the fresh smell of pine trees.
Finally reaching the top, they sit down to rest and allow the gentle breeze to refresh them as they look out on the remote valley below them.
Jesus falls to His knees to pray. The disciples follow His posture, but tired from the strenuous climb, they fall asleep.
As Jesus prays, His appearance alters. A divine radiance transfigures Jesus, as if heaven has sent blazing rays of firebolts to shoot out from Him. His face glows with a dazzling luster, shining as the light of a torch; His robe glistens with an ethereal white.
Awakened by the blinding light, the men shield their eyes, not believing what they see. Pinching themselves, they murmur, “Is this a vision? Are we still asleep?”
What a privileged sight for the three disciples! Privileged to see the glory that has been pulsing within Jesus’ human form, now bursting forth from its concealment. In that aurora of light, all else fades into a vaporous void – trees, rocks, grass, all blanched by the glory.
But what’s this? Squinting and rubbing their eyes, they see Moses and Elijah standing and talking with Jesus.
Moses, the representation of the Law.
Elijah, the representation of the prophets.
Jesus, standing between them, the fulfillment of both.
Oh, how He must have wanted to go back to heaven with them.
But Peter…always the impulsive Peter…sullies this hallowed moment by blurting out, “Lord, it’s wonderful for us to be here! If you want, I’ll make three shelters as memorials—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” (Matt. 17:4 NLT)
But as he speaks, a luminous cloud overshadows them in a haze of brightness, encompassing all of them.
A mighty voice booms out of the cloud, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matt. 17:5a NKJV)
The resonance of the voice cleaves through the rarefied air. The mountain quakes. The disciples slump to the ground as if struck by a bolt of lightning. Too terrified to look up.
Again, the voice, “Hear Him!” (Matt. 17:5b NKJV) And it was gone.
Jesus draws near in compassion and touches them. They feel that familiar gentle and reassuring hand on their shoulders, “Get up; don’t be frightened.”
When they look up, there is no Moses. There is no Elijah. No more bright cloud. Just Jesus, as He’s always been.
Still in a daze, they descend the mount of glory to the valley of what is to come. On their way down, Jesus says, “Do not mention to anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.” (Matt. 17:9 Amp)
Those two words, spoken in glory, echo throughout eternity, to all generations to follow, “Hear Him!”
What about us today? When the Lord leads us to the top of the mount of circumstance, to look out over the reality in the valley below…
* Do we follow Jesus’ example and pray or do we fall asleep?
* Do we enjoy the climb, or do we complain with every step?
* Does the climb change our lives forever?
* Do we listen to the Lord’s voice and consider what He says? Or does a lightning bolt have to strike us before we will listen?
In your life, do you ever climb with Jesus? What pales in the light of Christ? Do you hear Him?
Today, I am hooking up with…