After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.) Then a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!” Suddenly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus. As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus gave them orders not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead.
A Glimpse of Glory
Can you really blame Peter for wanting to stay on that high mountain? After years of following Jesus, now he was finally allowed to see his true glory as the Son of God. Jesus’ face shone like the sun and his clothes were gleaming white. Then, as if it couldn’t get any better, Moses and Elijah, two heroes of the Old Testament show up and by their very presence put God’s stamp of approval on the Savior’s life and mission. There was no more worrying, no more wondering, no more doubting. Just Jesus revealing himself as God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God.
Who would want to leave such a place? This is religion just how we want it—power, glory, peace. Peter wanted it all right then and there. But isn’t this what we want too? No more uncertainty. No more rejection. No more broken hearts, pain, failure, disappointment, loneliness, or death. Just glory. Just basking in Jesus’ glory and experiencing the peace that transcends all understanding.
But Jesus had to leave that mountain. He had to leave because his mission was not finished. He needed to carry out God’s plan of salvation and die for sinners, so that this glimpse of glory that Peter and the others experienced on the mountain could last for an eternity in heaven. So driven by love, Jesus descended that Mount of Glory and walked willingly to that Mount of Shame where he suffered and died for our sins.
Like Peter, we may want the glory right now. We might want to be done with all of the pain and suffering and sadness of this world, but it’s not time yet. Right now it is God’s will that we live by faith in his Son. Through the Word we too have witnessed Jesus’ glory on the mountain, and even more than that, we have seen his glory as our risen and ascended Lord. This glimpse of glory is what sustains us through difficult days here on earth and assures us of an eternal glory that will never end with Jesus in heaven.
Dear Lord of glory, help me to patiently bear the difficulties and sadness of this world as I keep my eyes fixed on you and await the eternal glory to come. Amen.