Matthew 17:1-9 (The Message)
1-3 Six days later, three of them saw that glory. Jesus took Peter and the brothers, James and John, and led them up a high mountain. His appearance changed from the inside out, right before their eyes. Sunlight poured from his face. His clothes were filled with light. Then they realized that Moses and Elijah were also there in deep conversation with him.
4Peter broke in, “Master, this is a great moment! What would you think if I built three memorials here on the mountain—one for you, one for Moses, one for Elijah?”
5While he was going on like this, babbling, a light-radiant cloud enveloped them, and sounding from deep in the cloud a voice: “This is my Son, marked by my love, focus of my delight. Listen to him.”
6-8When the disciples heard it, they fell flat on their faces, scared to death. But Jesus came over and touched them. “Don’t be afraid.” When they opened their eyes and looked around all they saw was Jesus, only Jesus.
9Coming down the mountain, Jesus swore them to secrecy. “Don’t breathe a word of what you’ve seen. After the Son of Man is raised from the dead, you are free to talk.”
Would do you think Peter, James, and John talked about as they came down the mountain after Jesus transfigured? Maybe they needed to change their tightie whities? Maybe they were pale and fear-struck with eyes wide open? If I were there, I might have asked Peter, “What were you saying? Can’t you keep your mouth shut for two minutes?” Nevertheless, the same bearded Jesus, who the disciples had been following, transformed before their very eyes and turned into a human light bulb. Words as loud as a train came from Heaven. But how did the disciples get to this place with Jesus? Is this a place Jesus would be willing to take us now? It all depends.
Let me tell you about Alaina. Alaina is my friend Mike’s daughter. She’s two years old and full of life and honestly full of herself. She has short blonde hair and daring blue eyes. Alaina is not like most two year olds; she prefers to be independent – like leave home at any moment independent. It’s not out of her character to simply go to bed without a parent knowing it or even tucking her in. She is amazing.
Let’s say Mike and Alaina are planning on having a “daddy-daughter date” one Saturday. Under normal circumstances, considering Alaina’s character, lets look at how this day might go down. Alaina gets herself together, and after breakfast, grabs Mike by the hand and takes him to her pink and white, soft, girly room. She shows him all of her toys, proceeds to color with him, and then she decides to watch a movie. You get the picture, she does all that is in her little heart to do with her daddy and they have a great ol’ time.
Okay, so second scenario, let’s say Alaina decides to snap out of character, and she lets Mike plan the day. They eat, and then they hit the road. Mike takes Alaina to the nearest zoo, where he shows her large, wonderful beasts that she had never imagined existed. Just when Alaina thought it couldn’t get any better, Mike takes her to the arcade, and they play games together until she’s ready to fall over from her exciting day.
So back to the scripture, Jesus took Peter, James, and John led them up a mountain. I’m sure James or John could have led the expedition to somewhere cool, maybe to their house where they could have cast lots on their Wii. But this first phrase in this passage carries such great weight in the outcome of the story. Jesus took… and led them…
As we are choosing to be disciples and devote ourselves to God, one simple choice will weigh heavy in our outcome. Will we choose to let Him lead us, or will we try to lead Him?
Prayer is the single most important aspect of our faith; it is our lifeline that stretches to Heaven. If we can apply this principle of letting God lead us, we can go places with God we could never have imagined. But much like Alaina, we like our nominal, comfortable experiences. But look at what Alaina missed when she decided to lead Mike – she missed all of the excitement and joy Mike had in store for her.
When people think of discipleship, they have this bleak view of life lived in monkish dryness. We think we must leave “the world,” act real “good,” and never do anything enjoyable ever again. This is a terrible tragedy and is a result of devotional lives lived absent of God’s daily leading.
You want excitement and life? Devote yourself to God and practice the spiritual disciplines daily; but as you discipline yourself, realize that the point of these disciplines is to learn to enjoy God. Make it a daily habit of letting Him lead your devotions. Let him lead your prayer time. He just might take you to a mountain and show you a thing or two.