Week 37: The Mountain Top
And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. 3 And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. 4 And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” 5 He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” 6 When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were terrified. 7 But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and have no fear.” 8 And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only. 9 And as they were coming down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, “Tell no one the vision, until the Son of Man is raised from the dead.”
14 And when they came to the crowd, a man came up to him and, kneeling before him,15 said, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he has seizures and he suffers terribly. For often he falls into the fire, and often into the water. 16 And I brought him to your disciples, and they could not heal him.” 17 And Jesus answered, “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me.” 18 And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was healed instantly.19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” 20 He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you” Matthew 17:1-9;14-20
I don’t know about you, but I am coming off of an incredible weekend. Saturated was amazing! It’s one of the best weeks of the year. The messages and the music just stir my affections for the Lord in a way that I don’t think I can describe.
And now, this week seems a little… normal. In fact, we may be tempted to think that we should just sit in and soak in Saturated every week of our lives because it’s just so good. Well, I think these passages from Matthew can help us understand the role of the “mountain top” experiences in our lives.
You see, Jesus gathers three of His disciples for a true mountain top experience. Peter, James and John get to see and experience firsthand the manifest presence of God the Father in the form of a cloud. They even get to hear His voice.
They get to see Elijah and Moses who’ve been dead for a couple of thousand years between them. And they get to see the transfigured JESUS. And just when it can’t get any better, Peter opens his mouth and says, “it is good that we are here.”
Just a note, if you ever find yourself in the presence of the glory of God, with the face of Jesus shining like the sun as HE is visiting with two Old Testament prophets, then maybe it’s not your time to speak up.
Peter, it’s not good that “we” are here, it’s very good that “HE” is here. You see, you and I for that matter, bring nothing good to the situation. Then, as if Peter hasn’t made a fool of himself enough, he continues to speak. Peter says that he could make tents for each of them and they could just stay on the mountain forever.
At this point the Father’s had enough of the self-promotion of Peter and He essentially tells Peter to be quiet and listen to Jesus. Well, the next thing you know, Jesus is heading back down the mountain. That’s right, Jesus is leaving the mountain top experience and headed into the valley, back into normal day to day life.
Peter’s request on the mountain reveals at least a couple of problems. First of all, Peter, it’s not all about you. In fact, it’s ALL about Jesus and Jesus is all about the glory of God.
Secondly, if you want to be with Jesus, then you can never stay on the mountain, because Jesus didn’t plan to stay on the mountain forever. Jesus heads back down into the town where there was great need waiting on Him.
The moment Jesus gets down the mountain, a man with a great need finds Jesus. The man begs Jesus to heal his son from a terrible suffering. The dad lets Jesus know that the disciples were unable to help. Later we find out from Jesus that what the disciples lacked in helping the man with his son, was prayer.
You see, if Jesus would have stayed on the mountain, as awesome as it seems, then He would not be available to do the ministry that brought glory to God. However, this doesn’t mean that the mountain was a bad thing. In fact, the disciples that were not on the mountain of transfiguration when faced with a ministry opportunity, they forgot to pray. They forgot God.
The mountain top experience reminds us that we have access to the power of God through the life and work of Jesus Christ. Sometimes churches try to separate the mission of God from the glory of God.
Make no mistake about it, the mission of God IS the glory of God. So, praise God when He calls us up to the mountain top experience, like Saturated. And praise God when He marches us into the streets and back into our neighborhoods and back into our jobs to bring healing in His name.
God did not you bring you up on the mountain for nothing, it was for His glory. And God is not leading you down the mountain for nothing, it also is for His glory.
So, may the time that you have spent in the presence of God on the mountain prepare you to display His love and grace for the glory of His name when you come down.