"It Is Good to Be Here"
As we come to the New Testament, we climb a mountain with Jesus, Peter, James, and John. Is it good to be on that mountain?
Is It Good To Be Here?
A. I can picture him, an old man by his standards. He writes looking back over a life that has been transformed. I can almost see him smile as he remembers his early days as a fisherman with his brother and friends. That was before Jesus came on the scene. Jesus. That is what this is all about, what his life is all about. Jesus. The one who gave him the name Peter.
B. So he writes – 2 Pet. 1:12-15. Yes, he may even remember that day by the lake when Jesus asked him, “Do you love me?” It was that day that Jesus told him that when he was old another would stretch out his hands and carry him where he did not want to go. (John 21:18-19)
C. When you come to what you believe is the end of your life, what would want to tell or remind others? Peter wanted to remind his readers that both the Hebrew Scriptures and these letters were God’s message to mankind. God’s message. That takes him back. (2 Pet. 1:16-18)
D. It is that mountain top experience that I want to reflect upon today. Matthew, Mark and Luke all tell us this great story. This experience takes place about a week after Peter had confess Jesus as the Son of God in Caesarea Philippi. Jesus had taken three of the disciples – Peter, James and John up on a mountain to pray. But praying was not what happened with these men, or at least not the whole time. While they were up there and Jesus was praying these three fell asleep.
I. Moses, Elijah and Jesus
A. As we experience this great moment on this mountain, I want to start by looking at Jesus in this story. Luke tells us that Jesus took these three men and went up on the mountain to pray.
B. Jesus knew his mission for existing in the human world. He was not God come in the flesh just to have a good time and see what it was like, he came for the purpose of redemption. He came as the redeemer to bring man and God back into union. He came to this mountain to pray.
C. Think about that. Jesus went up to pray, to talk to the Father. The only clue as to what was on Jesus mind is that we are told that when he was transfigured two others appeared with Jesus. One was Moses and the other was Elijah. Luke says that talked about the “exodus” of Jesus. That is the word used in the Greek language, but it is a significant word. It holds the same meaning in English as it does in Greek – departure. But yet it holds deep spiritual meaning as well. Jesus must have been in prayer about the cross months before it was going to take place. It was the leaving of bondage, the departure of – not only his physical life, but our sins – that Jesus was in prayer about.
D. Coming alongside him was Moses, the great law giver and leader of the exodus from Egypt to the Promised Land. Also was Elijah – the one whose exodus from this life was in a chariot of fire. The Law and the Prophets where there with Jesus, talking about the exodus that Jesus was to accomplish at Jerusalem.
II. The Disciples See Glory
A. Let’s come back to our story. While this is going our three disciples – Peter, John and James are sleeping. But when they woke up to this scene they saw the glory of Jesus along with Moses and Elijah. It was such a sight that Peter didn’t want it to stop.
B. He didn’t know what to say, but had to speak. He blurted out, “Lord, it is good that we are here.” I can walk with Peter in many places. But soak this in. Here you are on a mountain with Jesus. You fall asleep and wake up and somehow you know that Moses and Elijah – your great heroes of faith are there with your master. It is good to be here. It is so good he doesn’t want it to stop so he asks to build three shelters. The word here is “tabernacles.” I know that is a place of worship, but it is a tent. I don’t believe Peter is saying I want to build a house of worship for each of you. But he is saying, “I don’t want this moment to end.” Remember, they see the glory of Jesus in this transfigured state. But there is one more thing needs to happen.
C. You see while he is still speaking a cloud comes and overshadows them. I know what a miracle cloud means – God has come to take over. The LORD appears in a cloud several times in the Old Testament. That makes Peter speechless.
III. The Voice of God
A. It is good to be here. Do you know the presence of God? Can you feel and see God in the Christian family that sitting around you today? Did you communion with him during the Lord’s Supper a few moments ago? When you sang, was your heart lifted into His Holy of Holies?
B. The disciples have fear as Moses and Elijah enter the cloud. From the cloud a voice speaks. “This is my Son, my chosen one, listen to him!” God speaks so that the disciples, and in turn, you and I, understand. The one to listen to, to focus upon, to follow, is not Moses or Elijah. The one to dwell with in a tent is not Moses or Elijah. The one God says “listen to” is Jesus.
C. When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone.
A. I can just see it. Peter as an old man, believing that his death would soon come, sits down to write. He wants us to know that his story is real. He wants you and me to have faith because he was an eyewitness. He and others like John and the other Apostles, did not follow cleaver devised myths about Jesus. Instead, Peter says, “we were eyewitness of his majesty.” And he goes back to that mountain where it was good to be, and hear the voice of the Father confirm the supremacy of Jesus.
B. Yes, brethren, it is good to be here – today. To be, each Sunday, on a mountain with you praising God and encouraging one another. I am glad to be a part of your spiritual journey and to have you a part of mine. Listen to the voice of Jesus and the Morning Star will rise in you.