Six days later Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up on a high mountain by themselves. And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, I will make three tabernacles here, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!” When the disciples heard this,they fell face down to the ground and were terrified. And Jesus came to them and touched them and said, “Get up, and do not be afraid.” And lifting up their eyes, they saw no one except Jesus Himself alone.
As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, “Tell the vision to no one until the Son of Man has risen from the dead.” And His disciples asked Him, “Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” And He answered and said, “Elijah is coming and will restore all things; but I say to you that Elijah already came, and they did not recognize him, but did to him whatever they wished. So also the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.” Then the disciples understood that He had spoken to them about John the Baptist. Matthew 17:1-13
Why did Jesus take just three of the disciples up the mountain? Were they his special buddies? Were these three the most enlightened, the closest to grasping the kingdom of God? All we know for sure is that Jesus wanted them there with Him. We also know that they were given a delayed commission, to tell of this after the Resurrection. Rather than just being “newsy” what contribution was this story going to make to the kingdom of Jesus Christ? Humor perhaps?
When Peter was finally permitted to tell his story I can imagine his response when people asked him, “What did you do up there when you encountered God?” “Well,” blushing, “I proposed to build three little houses, one for Moses, one for Elijah and one for Jesus. As I have reflected on that experience, silence may have actually been more appropriate.”
I could imagine the wonder and the mystery of this encounter haunting these three throughout their lives, “Lord, what was the point of our mountain top encounter?”Peter was right in a way, It was good for them to be there but they may have never fully known why. However, the question marks it left may have been God’s simple gift to them, enabling them to keep perspective of the mystery into which they had been caught up.
We have our question marks as well. They are no liability. By faith we too can lift up our eyes, and choose to see no one except Jesus. We too, can look up into His shining face, feel His touch upon our hearts and hear Him say, “Do not be afraid.”
Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. Jude 24 NAS
Are we trembling, fearful of falling into the hands of the living God? Or like John, are we resting our heads upon Jesus?