Luke 9:28-36, some eight days after these sayings, He took along Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And while He was praying, the appearance of His face became different and His clothing became white and gleaming. And behold, two men were talking with Him; and they were Moses and Elijah, who, appearing in glory, were speaking of His departure which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and his companions had been overcome with sleep; but when they were fully awake, they saw His glory and the two men standing with Him. And as these were leaving Him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three tabernacles: one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah” —not realizing what he was saying. While he was saying this, a cloud formed and began to overshadow them; and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. Then a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!” And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent, and reported to no one in those days any of the things which they had seen.
When do we wake up? Is it after a long-awaited rest? Or maybe after we have been sedated for some kind of medical procedure? Perhaps we wake with a gentle song from a loving mother, or we find ourselves shocked into sober alertness with some shocking noise or circumstance. Regardless of when we wake, we all need to be awake at some point. Rest can be beneficial, but too much rest can cause us to be less than healthy. We can be lethargic to a point of self destruction. There are many benefits to being conscious, but no one greater than growing in the grace and understanding of our Lord.
Biblically speaking, man is often awakened with the image of God. He chooses mountain tops many times. In Exodus, Moses was beckoned to a mountain top to meet God and witness His glory. Elijah would have his own mountain view of God’s greatness. When Jesus was to be revealed to an even greater degree to His inner-circle – James, John, and Peter, to a mountain they traveled. They could
never have imagined what they would eventually witness. Jesus could have explained it to them, but there was no precedent in any man’s history to give context and definition to transfiguration. It had simply never happened before. The journey was arduous but worth the effort. They would glimpse the Glory of God!
We often take for granted the Jesus we have come to know. He is familiar and comfortable and as much friend and neighbor as He is Savior. Then suddenly life shatters the image we have tried to construct to make God visibly pleasing to us. He bursts forth from the man-made box in which we keep Him, and He declares His glory. His place and His righteousness. Jesus reserves the right to take us to places that are hard to get to, so that we can be cleansed of everything but our own selfish fatigue, and then He announces His presence. When we are void of all the senseless distraction of life, Jesus allows us to see Him. Maybe that’s why life is what it is. We are never really given rest here. There will be chaos and trouble until we leave separated with brief respites of love and Joy. Until we stand before that throne, life will be filled with both the finite constraints of time and the momentary victories God hands us. Often, we slumber spiritually even when we are wide awake physically.
Once awakened, our vision has to be adjusted. Jesus longs to reveal Himself to us, but He will only show us as much as we are prepared to receive. Maybe Peter, James and John were ready to see more than the others? We will never be more alive than when we have eyes ready to see, and ears ready to hear. Jesus says, “for whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him.” (Matthew 13:12)
Are we willing to see the Glory of God, or are we still trying to view Him from the shaded eyesight of weak and sinful people? Our best effort is to cry out, “Lord we need to see you as you are. We need your real image and not the concoction we have created so that we are more comfortable with our own lostness than we are with your righteousness!”
There are two ingredients that create who we are. The first is who we believe. In whom do I trust and follow. Is it my own self, or the truth of God? The second is what I see Jesus to be. That’s why my vision needs to be the clear truth of Christ, not a presumed or desired vision of some spiritual lucky-charm I can control, define, and manipulate. Let God be God! We are not Him!
If it is God you want to see, prepare to climb. Get ready for fatigue and effort on a level you are not used to. Be prepared to be offered many opportunities to quit along the way. I should have told you Satan will be making this journey with you. Any way he can distract, scare, or cause you to resent your great journey, he is there to offer with great volume. Just keep walking. One day, if we will just keep moving up the mountain, we will stand in the vision of the great Glory of God. In fact, it is likely on that great day, our journeys will be through and we will be home. The apostles had to descend the mountain and go back to work. Sometimes we climb the mountain to be prepared for what happens when we descend.
Are you struggling on the climb? Are you even walking toward the mountain? Do you seek to see God? If it is closeness to Jesus you seek, then journey step by step and you will eventually see God’s glory in one way or another. Remember if you seek you will find… (Luke 11:9) Godspeed on your journey!