Most of us desire mountaintop moments from God. You know what I'm getting at--you want to have an experience unlike anything you've ever had, and you want it to be a high high, rather than a low low. We want a mountain top experience like Moses on Sinai (Exodus 31:18) or Elijah on Horeb (1 Kings 19:8). We want our face to shine like Moses' because we've had the kind of encounter with God causes us to glow, reflecting his glory.
Maybe you've had a really good day with God? Maybe you've had a glimpse of a mountaintop moment? Was it during a personal retreat day? Or maybe at a conference? A worship gathering? A mission trip? During your prayer and reading time?
In Matthew 17:1-13, Mark 9:2-10, and Luke 9:28-37 we can read about the mountaintop moment of mountaintop moments. Jesus had only 6 days earlier announced that he was going to be crucified, killed, buried, and raise again. Peter had confessed Jesus as the Son of God. And then Jesus took Peter, James, and John up to a mountaintop for a special retreat. While they were there, Jesus was transfigured, meaning his appearance changed and the three closest disciples to Jesus got to see him in a better presentation closer to his true glory. Of course, it terrified them to be in the presence of such holiness. but Jesus comforted them and said, "Don't be afraid."
But that is not all. Standing next to Jesus was Moses (representing the Law) and Elijah (representing the Prophets). Then bright clouds rolled in around the mountain. From the clouds came a voice that said, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him." What a moment! Jesus is the climax of the revelation of God. All of the Law and the Prophets point to Jesus. That should have been enough, but then a voice declared Jesus as the Son of God. The Law, Prophets, and the voice of God all declare that Jesus is to be heard and obeyed.
What a moment!
Don't we all want mountaintop moments? But mountaintop moments serve a purpose much greater than for ourselves. When Moses was on the mountain he was getting the Law for the people. The experience wasn't for Moses. God had others in mind. Peter, James, and John didn't stay on the mountain. Jesus had others in mind then too. They went right back down into the valley with the ministry and message of hope, of the coming of the Kingdom. In fact, Jesus didn't even let them linger in the mountaintop moment.
As you think about your own mountaintop moments, consider working through the following questions with your Fellowship Group:
1. Have you ever had an experience you would call a mountaintop moment? What was it like? What happened after that moment? Did you find yourself in an opportunity to serve others or share the message of the gospel?
2. Do you long for mountaintop moments with God? If so, are you prepared for the service to God that comes with these opportunities?
3. Jesus chose three disciples that were very close to him to join him on the mountain? What do you think might have happened if he just took up random strangers? What if you took you?
4. The Law and the Prophets all point to Jesus (Luke 24:27). Can you share Jesus from the Law? How about from the Prophets? Do you find this easy or difficult? Why?
5. The people were waiting for the return of the Prophet crying out in the wilderness. They were waiting for Elijah. After this, there would be no more need for one to make ready for Jesus because Jesus would be here. But Jesus said Elijah had already come (See Matthew 11:113-15 and Matthew 17:12-13.) What does this mean for 'official' Old Testament type Prophets who speak for the Lord today?
6. How did you come to realize that Jesus is above all and the climax of God's revelation? (Or have you not?) What has lead you to believe that you should "Listen to Jesus?" How are you doing listening, trusting, and obeying Jesus?
We'll be discussing Matthew 17:1-14 this Sunday as well as in our fellowship groups. See you there.
For the Kingdom!