“And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John his brother and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light.”
I wish I was there that day. I can barely imagine what it was like. Matthew had to do some imagining himself. To write this passage, he depended on the testimony of Peter, James and John. For a few moments or minutes, they saw Jesus in all His glory.
His face shone like the sun. Think about those bright sunny summer days with no cloud in sight. That kind of brightness shone from Jesus’ face. I imagine they would had to shield their eyes yet longed to gaze fully into his face. His clothes “became white as light.” This also conveys an image of brightness, glory and purity.
I imagine that if I was there that day it would have left a deep impression. I think it would have been the ultimate mountain top experience. I would also think that such a glimpse of Jesus’ glory would sustain me in passionate faith for the rest of my days until I could see Jesus in such glory again.
But then they went down from the mountain back into the everyday earthly world. On the way down, they come upon a man whose son had seizures because of a demon. The other disciples failed in their attempt to deal with this situation. When Jesus learns of it, he expresses his disappointment – “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you?” Maybe Jesus struggled a little with coming down from that moment on the mountain. Yet He heals the boy and they continue with ministry.
Yet you’d think that at least Peter, James and John would be good to go for the rest of their lives. They had seen the glorified Lord! Yet Peter denied knowing Christ three times. James and John ran like everyone else when Jesus’ arrestors came.
So what are we to make of all this? Well, we certainly need to spend time with the glimpses of Jesus and God’s glory that the Scriptures give us. The glimpses and visions are gifts from God to His people so they can continue the walk of faith. They reveal a current glorious reality that we cannot see yet will one day enjoy.
They lift us beyond our every day world to remind us that there a new heaven and earth will one day come. And we will dwell in Jesus’ presence somehow able to look at his bright shining face without shielding our eyes. Yet they also remind us that though most of our world lives as if God doesn’t exist and Jesus will never return, we have a hope beyond this material world. When we get there, it will far exceed our wildest hopes and dreams.
Yet until then, we still need to walk in the valley. We still need to live day by day and go through the troubles, disappointments and tests of life. Yet I find when I have a clear vision of God’s majesty or Jesus’ glory and power, I gain strength and courage to go forward.
If you need to recapture a vision of God’s glory spend some time in Isaiah 6:1-11 or Ezekiel 1 or Revelation 1:9-20 or Revelation 4 and 5. Let the vision of God’s holiness and power along with Jesus’ glory and sovereignty fuel you to keep going.
“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” ~ Ephesians 3:20-21