Transfigured On Purpose
Have you had a spiritual buzz recently? This is what Peter, James, and John experienced when Jesus invited them up on the mountain top where he was transfigured, where Moses and Elijah showed up, where God the Father spoke from heaven.
And in the centre of all that glory, Jesus unveiled a bit of who he was and his face shone like the sun. Who wouldn’t experience a buzz in that kind of a moment? When we encounter God, we often want to do something to memoralize the moment. And that’s exactly what Peter suggested:
And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah. (Matthew 17:4).
Building a tent seemed to Peter like a good idea. Let’s camp out here in the glory! But God had other plans: a cloud overshadowed them, the Father expressed his love for him, and then gave these disciples a simple but profound instruction: Listen to him.
Don’t miss the point: The purpose of glory revelation is to get our attention so we’ll listen to Jesus. And what did Jesus tell us to do? Go into all the world and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19-20). Go everywhere and preach the gospel. Go and be my witnesses. It’s not complicated, but it’s not easy.
Going comes with a price tag. It’s much more comfortable to stay on the mountain top and build a tent. And some of us are very good tent builders and tent dwellers. Some of us have been hanging out in tents our entire lives. But this is not God’s intention; he reveals his glory so we’ll listen to him and do what he says and participate in his purpose. And Jesus demonstrates his intention by leading Peter, James, and John down from the mountain top where they encountered demonic darkness (Matthew 17:14-21).
This was all brought home to me in early October while I was in Ukraine, working with churches and leaders. Some of my darkest moments in ministry happened in Ukraine; some of the greatest revelations of God’s glory have broken into my life in Ukraine. The great news is the gospel of Jesus continues to grow and flourish there: people are repenting and believing the gospel, churches are being planted, leaders are growing.
This is what thrills me about our CBU Global Partners: we are not about tent-building or tent-dwelling – we’re all about listening to Jesus and going. Now, we have had some amazing glory moments over the years, and I know we’ve been tempted at times to hang out, to build tents, to develop a glory-based ministry. But that’s not who we are: having experienced God’s glory, we’ve obeyed God by going. We’ve done what the Father said, listened to Jesus, and gone into the world.