Written by Pastor Ben McCary
So often, we think, “If only I could see Jesus, then all my doubts and fears would be stilled.” It’s easy for us to imagine that one simple act on God’s part would make all the difference, but scripture shows us that God has done something much better to give us hope for the future.
There is a moment in the gospels when everything slows down and things get a little bit more clear. It happens right after Jesus gets in an argument about who he is and one of his followers, Peter says, “Lord, you are the Christ, the one who will save the universe from decay.” After that, Jesus sort of draws into himself and takes a few of his followers away with him on a journey.
It says that after six days, they arrived at a mountain, and there Jesus was transformed. It says that his clothes and body became like light and two dead prophets appeared next to him and spoke with him. Jesus’ followers were terrified at this amazing display of power. This was the man that they had followed for a few years, that they had seen do amazing things, but also who had been confusing and surprising at every turn. Everyone who met Jesus left asking, “Just who is that man?”
But now, everything was clear: here he was, standing in line with God’s greatest prophets, above them and glowing, shining with God’s glory. The disciples were dumbfounded, and cried out “Lord, it is good that we are here together.” It says that in their moment of greatest fear, Jesus touched them, and they lifted their eyes. But, what they saw was not that glowing glory, it was the same man that they had known. Back to the way he had been before.
On the way down the mountain, they had all kinds of questions, all kinds of confusion about what this meant. That moment of clarity left them with so much confusion. Once they got the the bottom of the mountain, they found the rest of the disciples trying to heal a sick boy, but unable. In spite of all this power that they had seen in Jesus, on their own they were still weak, confused and wishing for more.
But the beautiful thing about this story is that it doesn’t end with a flash of light on a mountain top. Jesus continued to walk with the disciples, he continued to teach them and live with them. He went through life with them – even though they knew he was more than they could ever imagine. He wept, the laughed, and he walked with them.
Jesus even went so far as to die like they would all die: as a criminal, hated, and slandered. This one who was the embodiment of God’s glory on the mountain, became the embodiment of human weakness.
Sometimes we wish for a flash of light, but we get something so much more in following Jesus Christ. We get a touch on the head from a friend. We get a walk down the mountain excited and asking questions, we get someone who will go with us even into death. And we know that that flash of light is just a glimpse of the light to come. Because Jesus was raised again; his spirit came and lives among us. So now, the illumination comes from within and our spirits can cry out, dumbfounded: “Lord, it is good that we are here together.”
My prayer is that the flash of light on the mountain would be for you what it truly is: a reminder that there is always light to come. There is a resurrection from death into life; whether that be death of a relationship, of a dream, or of your sense of self. God is walking with you, every day guiding you and making you new.