In our first verse today Jesus gives us a more enjoyable “coming attractions” speech. Earlier in this section Jesus shared some details of His upcoming death, which caused quite a stir. We are going to look at the “coming attraction” today too. My bible actually put the first verse with the previous section but I held it back for time’s sake.
Jesus has been addressing a small crowd containing His disciples and those who wanted to be true followers of Christ. In His concluding remarks He tells them that some of them standing there with Him at that moment were not going to die before witnessing an amazing event. That event was the coming of the Kingdom of God in power.
I don’t know what the disciples were expecting this to be. We know they were expecting Jesus to set up an earthly throne for Himself. Did they think this was what He was referring to? If “some of them” were not going to die before He took the throne, what would happen to the others? Which ones would be still alive? How would the others die? When would this happen? So many questions sparked by that one statement. They had no clue of Jesus’ true meaning. Peter, James and John had no idea what was awaiting them.
Six days later Jesus took Peter, James and John on a walk. He took them to a “high mountain”; just the four of them. Did Jesus give them any indication that this would be a special day? Did He say why He didn’t want the other disciples along on this trip? What was the atmosphere like in that small group as they walked along? Did the three disciples ask Jesus where they were going? Were they eager to see what He was going to do? When these four went out alone something spectacular usually occurred.
When they got to the top of the mountain they were not disappointed. What they saw scared James and John speechless. Peter reacted just the opposite. He was scared too but when he got scared he got diarrhea of the mouth. Jesus knew of Peter’s “condition” before even inviting him on this outing, yet He still included him. God knew of Peter’s propensity to put his foot in his mouth before Peter even met Jesus, yet He gave him to Jesus anyway.
I say that God “gave” Peter to Jesus as His disciple because that is exactly how Jesus phrased it shortly before His final sacrifice. In John 18:9, John records that Jesus had stated that He had not lost one of those God had given Him. In John 6:44, Jesus says that no one can come to Him unless the Father draws him. So each of Jesus’ disciples were hand-picked by God; warts and all.
Let’s get back to our mountain top. Peter, because of his fear spoke up. His intentions may have been honorable but his focus need fine tuning. Peter was ready to honor everyone present instead of keeping his focus on Jesus. This earned immediate correction from God. God also removed the “distractions” so Peter could refocus on what was important.
I know I’m guilty at times of the same thing Peter was in trouble for. Turning my attention to the miracles and taking my eyes off the Miracle Worker. I know Jesus wants us to appreciate the things He does for us, but when they become our focus in the place of Him, trouble begins. To be fair, Peter didn’t really take his eyes off of Jesus, he just wanted Him to share the spotlight with Moses and Elijah. Peter was elevating Moses and Elijah to the same status as Jesus in his proposal. This was not something God would allow. You can almost hear the breaks screeching on the whole experience after Peter’s remarks.
On the way down the mountain Jesus told His three disciples not to share this experience with ANYONE else, including the other disciples, until after He rose from the dead. They still didn’t get the rising from the dead reference but they would follow Jesus’ command. I wonder what they would have said if they were allowed to on that night. Did the other disciples ask them what happened during their time alone with Jesus? What was their answer? Or was there so much happening from then on that there wasn’t time to discuss it before Jesus was crucified?
Father God, thank You for choosing Peter to be on of Jesus’ disciples. He gives me hope. All the stumbles he made along the way show me that You use imperfect people in Your perfect plan. Do my imperfections add to Your plan? Or do You have to repair or adjust for my imperfections? Do You ever get the giggles over the things I do? I get them from some of the stories You share. I’m sure I bring You to tears at times. I’m very sorry for those times. I pray there are fewer of those times every day.
Please help me keep my eyes on you, more than on what You d,o or can do, for me. I want my relationship with You to come first and for everything else to flow out of that. Even my relationship with my husband. When our relationship is right it creates in me a heart capable of showing the kind of love he deserves. Create in me a heart so full of Your love that love is the only thing flowing out of it. I am SO far from this ideal. Is this my ideal or Your plan? I honestly don’t know. Please give me wisdom here too. Thank You that You promise that if we ask for wisdom that You will provide it.