Six days later Jesus took Peter and the two brothers, James and John, and led them up a high mountain to be alone. As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed so that his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as light. Suddenly, Moses and Elijah appeared and began talking with Jesus. Peter exclaimed, “Lord, it’s wonderful for us to be here! If you want, I’ll make three shelters as memorials —one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” But even as he spoke, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy. Listen to him.” The disciples were terrified and fell face down on the ground. Then Jesus came over and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” And when they looked up, Moses and Elijah were gone, and they saw only Jesus. As they went back down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.” Then his disciples asked him, “Why do the teachers of religious law insist that Elijah must return before the Messiah comes? ” Jesus replied, “Elijah is indeed coming first to get everything ready. But I tell you, Elijah has already come, but he wasn’t recognized, and they chose to abuse him. And in the same way they will also make the Son of Man suffer.” Then the disciples realized he was talking about John the Baptist.
Dear God, I want to look at this story today from Peter’s, James’s and John’s perspective. Well, mainly Peter’s since he is the one who talks so we know a little more of what is going on with him. That, and the fact that the New Testament reading for this weekend is Peter using this Tory to make his point.
I’ve talked before with you about how I think this experience was your way of encouraging, affirming, and even comforting Jesus on his way to Jerusalem. But, frankly, he didn’t have to have these three disciples with him. But maybe they needed to be there. In fact, who’s to say that Jesus didn’t have several experiences like this that weren’t recorded because no one was there?
I would say that one of the things Peter got was a revelation that this was all for real. He had just seen Moses and Elijah, for crying out loud! What a testimony this was to them in a time when they might have started to doubt!
You can tell they are trying to process what they just saw as they walk down because they are trying to make sense of having just seen Elijah (they just saw Elijah!) and how it might fit into the prophecy about him coming back before the Messiah comes.
Of course, Peter uses this experience later in his epistle to underscore that this is all very real. You are real. Jesus was/is real. The message he was preaching is real. This one little event had a huge impact on him.
Father, you do things that encourage me all of the time. Sometimes I notice and sometimes I miss them. Please help me to notice you in every moment. Help me to be grateful for every single thing you do for me. And, really, thank you for even caring about me at all, not to mention loving me so much.
In Jesus’s name I pray,