Luke 9:28-36 (New International Version)
About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem. Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, "Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah." (He did not know what he was saying.)
While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. A voice came from the cloud, saying, "This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him." When the voice had spoken, they found that Jesus was alone. The disciples kept this to themselves, and told no one at that time what they had seen.
- Ben's trip to Nepal
- Everest base camp
- You'd be able to write a sermon on that
- "I didn't climb a mountain, just a very high valley"
- Personal experience
- Climb anything
- mango tree
- Left behind up the mulberry tree
- a challenge, sense of accomplishment
- Pimple rock
- See nothing but the sky around you
I saw a similar sight yesterday on TV. The camera showed a solitary man standing atop a mountain and as the camera swooped up and over his shoulder you could see the steepness of the mountain below. Looking straight out I'm sure you would have thought there was nothing under you. That must have been an exhilirating feeling. He was a snowboarder, and, with music raising, descended down to start the 44th winter olympics.
There will be others too, that will stand upon snowy mountaintops in the coming fortnight. If they looked out they, too, would surely feel like they are on top of the world, but they will be focused on climbing another mountain. A mountain of 3 steps, where the top step marks you the champion of the world. What a sense of achievement it would be to climb up onto the gold medal spot with the whole world watching. All that training and dedication, all for this one prize. The gold medal.
In our bible reading today we heard of 3 men, Peter James and John, who had a different mountaintop experience. They climbed a mountain with their friend to pray. While they were praying, their friend, Jesus, transformed into the brightest of white. Wow, that was unexpected. Totally Amazing, but totally not what they thought was going to happen. We read from verse 32:
Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, "Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah." (He did not know what he was saying.)
Peter, the rock of the church, didn't know what to say.
In this mountaintop experience, the disciples did nothing apart from be there. No training required, no sense of personal achievement, but surely a better experience than even winning a gold medal. Jesus provided the miracle. Jesus did it all.
There was another mountaintop experience mentioned in the reading:
Two men, Moses and Elijah, 31appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem.
Jesus, alone again, will be lifted high on a hill. Not in glory, but humility. Arms outstretched and still forgiving while the the weight of the world's sin comes crashing down on him. No glory on that day, but in 3 days time he'll rise again in the most glorious miracle of all. Jesus alone sets us free from sin to spend eternity with him.
Where were we? Innocent Bystanders? Maybe not so innocent as our sin was part of his burden.
How can we respond to this miracle? John, who was there at the transfiguration, and had seen Jesus after he rose again, calls us to respond with love:
1 John 4:9-12 (New International Version)
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
We're asked to share God's love. Let God's love shine through us, as that brings about the completion God desires.
Verse 3 of Shine Jesus Shine:
As we gaze on your Kingly brightness,
So our faces display your likeness,
Ever changing from glory to glory,
may OUR lives tell YOUR story.