2 And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, 3 and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them. 4 And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. 5 And Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” 6 For he did not know what to say, for they were terrified. 7 And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.” 8 And suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them but Jesus only. Mark 9:2–8
Have you ever had a mountain-top experience with the Lord? An experience that left you full of joy and hope and brimming with excitement and a zeal to serve him?
Peter, James, and John had been following Jesus for some time now. They had heard Jesus teach the people, heal the sick, feed the five-thousand, and even walk on water. All they had experienced to this point, could not have prepared them for what they were about to witness.
Jesus took them to a high mountain where he was transfigured. What Peter, James, and John saw, terrified them. Up to this moment, Jesus had lived as a man, veiling his divine nature. Now, for the first time, they saw Jesus for who he really was.
Peter who is watching this earth-shattering event unfold, then notices Moses and Elijah standing with Jesus. Why were Moses and Elijah present? They were representative of the Law and the Prophets who foretold the coming of Messiah. Unfortunately, Peter misses the point and suggests that three tents be constructed, one for Jesus, one for Elijah, and one for Moses. Peter puts Moses and Elijah on the same level as Jesus.
Suddenly a cloud appears and God the Father speaks; “This is my beloved Son, listen to him?” It’s as if God is saying, “You have lived your entire lives listening to Moses and the Prophets, and well you should have, but now listen to my Son.”
Before we react too harshly towards Peter, we have to take a hard look at ourselves. How often have you and I put other things or people on the same level as Jesus. How often do we allow our relationship with Jesus to suffer due to the distractions of life? This is not a call for asceticism, but priorities.
This Advent, as we await the coming of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, God’s Son, I pray that each of us will ask these questions.
- Who is Jesus and have I given him first priority in my life?
- Have I made him the center of all I am and will ever be, making all things subject to his will?