Today’s reading is on Luke 9:28-36.
When’s the last mountaintop moment you had? When you last felt, spiritually, on top of the world? (Maybe physically if you’re actually into mountain climbing or something?) That moment of intense, intentional focus & closeness to God’s presence. Maybe a spiritual conference or church gathering; an intense small group gathering, or much-needed prayer circle; maybe even just a particularly convicting, revealing moment of prayer and revelation of the Lord’s will in your life. Anything come to mind? Do you remember how it made you feel? That comfort, warmth, joy, that you want to hold onto afterwards?
The biblical significance of the mountaintop is a logical one: people drawing close to God in earnest, both metaphorically and literally closer to the heavens, and a significant spiritual closeness occurring. Moses on Mount Sinai receiving God’s commandments; Elijah calling the wrath of God upon Baal’s prophets from Mount Carmel; Jesus’s ascension from the Mount of Olives, foretold by the prophet Zechariah; in the transfiguration of Christ, an occasion described in Luke 9:28, as well as Matthew 17 & Mark 9. Jesus takes Peter, James & John up a mountain, where Christ’s sudden transfiguration occurs, and the full radiance of Heaven’s majesty shines through Him upon the three disciples. Even the likenesses of Moses and Elijah appear to discuss Jesus’s coming death, representing, as Jesus explained in Luke 24:44, “the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms” pointing to His death & resurrection.
Peter mentions setting up three tents for Jesus and His two visitors, basically expressing how much he wants to just stay here in this moment. Peter wants this moment of intense glory, the full radiance and amazement of Christ’s true glory, to be a lasting celebration, to camp out and cherish this holy closeness to God’s work as long as possible. Alas, soon it is over. But not before the disciples have confirmed without a doubt, from the very voice of God, the true nature of Christ.
Interesting, Luke’s telling of the Transfiguration includes one fact, in verse 28, the other apostle’s recollections do not: that Christ had taken them to the mountain specifically to pray. To draw away and have intentional closeness to God, setting their time and effort aside explicitly for talking to Him and being in His presence. Setting aside our time & effort for dedicated prayer and Scripture is such an important practice, especially for experiencing a real, genuine focus on God’s working in our hearts & minds. Especially in moments of sharing that with others, as the three apostles had here to an incredible degree, seeing their dear friend & Savior displaying the full glory of God. But when we experience those spirit-filling moments, when we’re called to listen and hear the truth from God and see His glory, what happens next? Are we expected to stay still and enjoy our blessing from there? No; none of these people, after their mountaintop moments, spent the rest of their life on that mountain. They took the word of God, and what they’d experienced, and went down & shared the joy and might and power they experienced with others. They went and glorified God to the people below and demonstrated the effect God had in their life in those moments.
Lord, I pray a prayer of thanks this morning for sharing with us the glory of your son Jesus Christ, who stepped down to earth to fulfill the laws of Moses and the Prophets, and die for our sin in our place. We thank you that we would be able, at any time, to seek conversation & closeness to you, and that when we do, your word and your glory would be revealed to us. We pray that, in those times between our moments of prayer and Scripture, that we could seek glorification and honor of your word, above all else, to those around us, that they may share in the joy we experience with you.