This week’s encounter begins with a question concerning Jesus identity? Even to his closest friends and followers, we get this idea in scripture that while they believed Jesus was who he said he was, what he would endure, why he would endure it and what the implications were for them, still seemed a bit confusing. So in Matthew Chapter 16 Jesus gets a little more explicit in his explanation by posing this question: “Who do people say I am”? He then presses a little harder - “What about you? Who do you say I am?”
It was Peter who stepped up and said what many of them had suspected. vs 16: ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Bull’s eye! For once in his life, Peter got it right on the first try! From there, Jesus went on to explain the implications of his identity.
About a week later in Chapter 17, Jesus knew that those closest to him didn’t fully grasp his identity and purpose and so Jesus, Peter, James and John go for a walk, a hike, and there on a mountaintop, Jesus gave them the clearest picture imaginable of who he is. It is known as the “transfiguration”.
I’ve Got three questions for you this weekend. Not just the men, but everyone. But I’m particularly interested in what the guys have to say.
First, Who do you say that Jesus is? Maybe you are where Peter was at - “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” But what does that really mean? What are the implications to your daily life?
The 2nd question I have for you in light of this encounter: Is Jesus greater than? As Peter, James and John stood on that mountain with Jesus, there stood Moses and Elijah. They were great men, but they were human beings with baggage and failures and despair – just like us. Moses had a temper – he murdered a man and was kept from entering the Promised Land as a result of his inability to control himself even 80 years later. Elijah saw one of the greatest miracles of the Old Testament – called down fire on Mount Carmel, but he got so depressed when he was persecuted that he actually asked God to kill him.
When Peter recommended that a shelter be built on top of the mountain for Jesus, Elijah and Moses, God clarified Jesus position. Jesus is greater than all. He has no equal.
The third question is just as personal. How close are you to Jesus? Out of the twelve disciples, it is Peter, James and John who accompany Jesus to the mountain top. Not once, but three times in scripture they accompany him, to see things, experience things first hand. They were witness to the raising of Jairus daughter. They went further in the garden of Gethsemane to pray when Jesus was about to be handed over..
Was it because they were favorites or because they were willing? God knows the heart and Jesus knew their heart like He knows yours. How close are you to Jesus?
James 4:8 says “Come near to God and He will come near to you.” (James 4:8)(NIV) How willing are you to draw near to Jesus, to align your life with Him no matter where He leads you. Whether to a mountain top where you see his glory or to the depths of prayer when you can’t keep your eyes open and the worst thing you can imagine happening happens anyway despite your prayers. Are you willing to stay close? Your transfiguration awaits you this Father’s day weekend. I look forward to sharing it with you.
Don’t forget, Saturday and Sunday after each service there will be pulled pork, beans, chips and a whole lot of ax throwing, weight lifting, target shooting and casting. Make sure you bring a friend.