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Matthew 17:1-13

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.
Matthew 17:1-13

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,

Amen

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2020 in Matthew

 

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Peter & John — Luke 9:28-36

Luke 9:28-36 NASB
[28] Some eight days after these sayings, He took along Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. [29] And while He was praying, the appearance of His face became different, and His clothing became white and gleaming. [30] And behold, two men were talking with Him; and they were Moses and Elijah, [31] who, appearing in glory, were speaking of His departure which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. [32] Now Peter and his companions had been overcome with sleep; but when they were fully awake, they saw His glory and the two men standing with Him. [33] And as these were leaving Him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three tabernacles: one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah”-not realizing what he was saying. [34] While he was saying this, a cloud formed and began to overshadow them; and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. [35] Then a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!” [36] And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent, and reported to no one in those days any of the things which they had seen.

Dear God, it seems like this telling of the transfiguration is a little more detailed than the others. I’d need to go back and check to see if the others do this, but I don’t remember the little details like eight days later and being afraid walking into the fog. I don’t even remember the part where they fell asleep and woke up to see everything happening.

It says that “they were afraid” about the cloud. Did that include Jesus, Moses, and Elijah, or was it Just Peter, James, and John? I would imagine at that point that Jesus, Moses and Elijah knew what was happening and were at peace.

I wonder if this felt like a dream to the three disciples. To wake up and see such an extraordinary sight. I’ve talked about Peter’s response before so I don’t know that I need to cover it again. It’s just an amazing thing that I’m convinced was meant to strengthen Jesus for the home stretch leading up to the crucifixion.

Father, give me what I need so that I can be strengthened to do your will. Give me courage. Give me strength. Give me love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, faithfulness, kindness, and self control. Let your fruit come to bear in my life.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on October 31, 2018 in Luke, Peter and John

 

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Peter & John — Mark 9:2-8

Six days later Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and led them up a high mountain to be alone. As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed, and his clothes became dazzling white, far whiter than any earthly bleach could ever make them. Then Elijah and Moses appeared and began talking with Jesus. Peter exclaimed, “Rabbi, it’s wonderful for us to be here! Let’s make three shelters as memorials —one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He said this because he didn’t really know what else to say, for they were all terrified. Then a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my dearly loved Son. Listen to him.” Suddenly, when they looked around, Moses and Elijah were gone, and they saw only Jesus with them.

Mark 9:2-8

Dear God, as I try to compare the differences between Peter and John, as I can discern them from the New Testament, I notice in this passage that “they were all terrified,” and yet Peter was the one to speak. In this case, we aren’t told if they were part of the conversation or were observing them from a distance, but in the moment Peter broke and just could sit with his fear.

I’m a subscriber to the Mark Twain saying, “Better to remain silent and appear foolish than to open your mouth and remove all doubt,” but I can still tend to talk too much in a group setting. I can also talk too much in a one-on-one conversation. My listening skills can be very poor. I really admire my wife’s listening skills. People feel comfortable with her and they are able to open up to her. She will allow for silent moments. She will ask a question and wait for the answer. She will draw people out and make them feel heard. Had she been there with Jesus that day, I am sure she would have been terrified, but also taking it all in, learning, and trying to figure out what it means.

Father, I give you my thanks for giving me such a great friend in my wife. I worship you in this silent moment. Help me to hear you today. Help me to be a great listener for those we will see today. Make me better than I am for the sake of your kingdom and others.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on September 30, 2018 in Mark, Peter and John

 

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Peter and John — Matthew 17:1-13

After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus. As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.” The disciples asked him, “Why then do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?” Jesus replied, “To be sure, Elijah comes and will restore all things. 12 But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.” Then the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist.

Matthew 17:1-13

Dear God, in my series on Peter and John, here’s a story that specifically contains both of them (plus James).

I love that Peter can’t stand an awkward moment without just saying something. Previously, we saw Jesus walking to them on water, but instead of just watching everything play out he decided he needed to get out there too. In this case, he couldn’t just sit there and wait until he was needed. He couldn’t imagine that he was there to just take it in and use the knowledge and experience later. He figured he and the other two must be there for physically utilitarian purposes. He didn’t understand and couldn’t imagine that you were using this as a moment to be leaned upon later in his life.

Of course, I’ve always thought that the main reason for the transfiguration experience was to encourage Jesus as he continued his road to Jerusalem. I would love to have heard that conversation. I’m sure it focused around Jesus hearing affirmation and encouragement from them. I wonder if Peter, James and John were truly able to keep it a secret until after the crucifixion.

Then there is John in this story. We aren’t told that he says anything while Moses and Elijah are there. He was probably in awe. Maybe he was talking with Peter and James. Maybe that’s where the shelter idea came from, but Peter was the one who said it. Either way, he was certainly more reserved in his response than was Peter.

Finally, in the trip down the mountain they asked about Elijah. It doesn’t tell us who actually asked it. It probably wasn’t Peter since Matthew seems to like to tell us when it’s Peter talking. Presumably it was either James or John who asked it. But this shows thought of trying to make sense of all of this, connect the dots, cross the t’s, and dot the i’s. While Peter is seemingly completely in the moment, the asker of this question is trying to step out of the moment and look at things from a big-picture point of view.

Father, I am interested to see how all of this plays out. What is it about Peter that I need to look at adding to my life? What is it about him that I already have that I need to discard? The same for John. What can you teach me about my place in the body of Christ by studying these two men and contrasting them against each other? Teach me through this process so that I might become the man you need and want me to be.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on September 3, 2018 in Matthew, Peter and John

 

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Emails to God – When Life Just Feels Bigger Than You (Matthew 17:1-13)

1 After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. 3 Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.

4 Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”

5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”

6 When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. 7 But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” 8 When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.

9 As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”

10 The disciples asked him, “Why then do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?”

11 Jesus replied, “To be sure, Elijah comes and will restore all things. 12 But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.” 13 Then the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist.

Dear God, it can be so hard to understand what is going on around us at any given time. The stories of two different people come to mind.

The first is a news story I watched this morning about a man who moved to The Sudan with Samaritan’s Purse nine years ago. Now, Samaritan’s Purse has evacuated and he resigned from the organization so that he can stay. He married a local woman and can’t stand the thought of abandoning these people to war while he retreats to the safety of the United States. I admire this man’s convictions, love, and loyalty. I wonder how much of what you are doing in his life he really understands. I’m not saying he isn’t doing your will. I’m sure he is. I’m just saying that life must seem so much bigger than he can handle sometimes.

Then there is a friend who is a missionary overseas. I received a newsletter from him and his wife last night. Frankly, his wife, in the article she wrote, seems depressed. I don’t think she likes the city where they live and I think that other aspects of her life are overwhelming her. Raising her children. Supporting her husband. Missing her family. A lack of ability to use her own gifts. It feels like it is too much. She is trying to make sense of it. In her article, she says that she is seeking you and what you have for her in this time. She doesn’t use these words, but, reading between the lines, she seems to be crying out to you and begging you to get her through this.

Verses 10-13 make me think of all of this because the disciples had a lot of stuff going on around them that they didn’t and couldn’t understand. There is no way they could grasp the scope of what was happening. They didn’t realize that they were part of a plan that would launch your plan for the whole world for thousands of years. They didn’t realize that I would be reading about them thousands of years later. They didn’t realize that there would be churches all over the world named after them. It was just too big for them to understand.

Father, I pray for both of the people I mentioned above. For this man that I do not know, use him to end the war in The Sudan. Love him and his family. Comfort them. Protect them. But please use him. Do not let his sacrifice be in vain. I also pray for my friend and his wife. I am sure that he feels as helpless to help his wife as she feels to help herself. Give them guidance and counsel. Help them to emerge from this in a way that makes them stronger with you and more fulfilled in their lives. Unite them together and protect their marriage. Give them hope.

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2012 in Matthew

 

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