Six days later Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and led them up a high mountain to be alone. As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed, and his clothes became dazzling white, far whiter than any earthly bleach could ever make them. Then Elijah and Moses appeared and began talking with Jesus. Peter exclaimed, “Rabbi, it’s wonderful for us to be here! Let’s make three shelters as memorials—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He said this because he didn’t really know what else to say, for they were all terrified. Then a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my dearly loved Son. Listen to him.” Suddenly, when they looked around, Moses and Elijah were gone, and they saw only Jesus with them. As they went back down the mountain, he told them not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead. So they kept it to themselves, but they often asked each other what he meant by “rising from the dead.”
Mark 9:2-10 NLT
Matthew, Mark, and Luke all record this story of the transfiguration of Jesus. The wording used suggests that Jesus was transformed from the inside out—in other words, He did not just have a new outward appearance but there was a release of the glory of God from within Him. It is interesting to me that all three gospel writers identify Elijah and Moses as being with Jesus and talking to Jesus. Elijah represented the prophets and Moses represented the law. But my thought is, how did Peter, James, and John know they were Elijah and Moses? There must have been something about the conversation that let the three disciples know without a question who these other two men were. Peter, being terrified, speaks up and suggest they build three tabernacles to stay on the mountain. It is interesting that when we experience the glory of God’s presence we want to stay right there. No one wants to leave that place of peace and beauty. But Jesus knew they had to go down the mountain because of the suffering that was ahead. There was a father at the foot of the mountain with a demon-possessed son who needed help. We can’t live in the presence of God all the time. We must take that presence into our hurting world. Jesus knew there had to be the suffering and death of the cross before the true realization of God’s glory. Jesus tells the disciples not to tell anyone until after He is raised from the dead. Jesus was again trying to get the disciples to understand God’s plan. They were missing the plan because they were excited about the glory, not the suffering. Suffering proceeds glory. We will have times of suffering and pain, but the glory will follow.
Holy Spirit help me to enjoy the moments in Your presence and help me to take Your presence into my suffering world.
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