A couple of week ago I had the privilege of preaching about the transfiguration. How mountaintop experiences are important, important moments to hear from God and be inspired. We all need these, but perhaps more importantly we need to realise that life is not all mountaintops, we can’t live on the mountaintop, we must come down the mountain. There will be valleys and long dry roads. Seeking God is just as important in these times as on the mountaintop.
Life contains mountaintops, but is not about them.
Though there are powerful lessons to be learnt from the mountaintop, and I think specifically from how the disciples and in particular Peter responded to the transfiguration event. Let’s consider some of these now:
- Joy and excitement are a part of a vibrant faith.
Peter was a zealous man, sometimes this got him in to trouble, but the reason he was zealous was because he was excited for the things of God. He wanted to build dwellings for Jesus, Moses and Elijah because he was excited by what was happening (Matt 17:4). Are we excited about the things of God? Do we get passionate when we see God at work in our lives and the lives of others? This doesn’t mean we need to be exuberant all the time, but can we identify with Peter? Perhaps we need to ask God infuse us with a renewed passion for His work and kingdom.
- Interruptions are sometimes needed.
Many people lament how many interruptions exist in our current day and age. This is definitely a problem and for many of us simply turning off our phones for a day will help. But what about good interruptions? Being interrupted by God? In this passage Peter is readily giving his thoughts and God interrupts him and tells him that he should basically close his mouth and listen to Jesus (Matt 17:5)! I am taking a little bit of licence, but sometimes we just need to be interrupted by God. Amidst our many plans and schedules, are we open to God interrupting and changing the plan? Do we listen enough? This passage does say:
“This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!”
- We need not be afraid.
Jesus told the disciples on the mountain not to fear (Matt 17:7). We need never fear when Jesus is near. It is true that we should fear God for when our fear is rightly ordered with a true reverence and awe for God we don’t need to worry, fret or be anxious about this life (Matt 6:25-34). Of course these things are natural and by no means because we feel them does that mean that we are any less or that we have failed in any way. But we can find comfort that God cares and will be with us. Jesus will be with us and we need not be afraid.
Some of the lessons that we learn on the mountaintop help sustain us in the valley. Knowing that there are different seasons in life is important. But more than this we must listen and obey, knowledge that does not bear fruit is exactly that, fruitless. May we be fruitful with what we learn on the mountaintops.