Today’s reading is from Matthew 17.
Are you familiar with the expression “Mountain-Top Experience” or “Mountain-Top Moment?” They typically refer to a time where you experienced something impactful, usually a big victory or success you accomplished, which you will remember the rest of your life. One of my mentors and coaches, Kurt Dorner, uses recalling “Mountain-Top” moments daily as a big part of his What’s Possible Coaching. Why? Jason Selk, one of the world’s top sports psychologist, and now business coach, says, “Confidence is the number one variable in success.” Reminding ourselves of past successes breeds confidence and leads to peak performance again because we remember what’s possible and what has been done before knowing we can do it again.
Today we read about Peter, James, and John both literally and figuratively having a “Mountain-Top Experience” with their presence at Jesus’ Transfiguration on the top of a mountain (again..both literally and figuratively). How awesome must this have been to be there for this?! Much of my writing today is from notes in my Bible from a sermon Pastor Mike Baker did on this topic on 2/17/2019.
First, Pastor Mike discusses how Peter, James, and John missed Jesus’ superiority and what was going on right in front of them. How? Peter won’t be quiet and just observe what’s going and just listen. In Matthew 17:4, he immediately starts trying to plan and take action. Pastor Mike discussed we must be quiet to observe God’s presence and role in our “Mountain-Experiences” and lives.
Second, Pastor Mike discusses how in the midst of the Transfiguration and traveling with Jesus and taking part in His ministry, they still missed seeing God’s plan. In Matthew 17:9, Matthew 17:12, and Matthew 17:22, Jesus says He must suffer and will be raised from the dead. Yet, they kept misinterpreting the Old Testament scriptures as the Messiah being an earthly king. Despite how many times Jesus told them what was going to happen, they were still fearful when Jesus was captured and killed thinking His mission and purpose died with Him. They ran and hid. They forgot everything Jesus told them and forgot this past “Mountain-Top Experience” with God the Father, Moses, Elijah, and Jesus. Would they really have felt this way if they remembered the Almighty God who is in control of all things was with Jesus and with them? Did God the Father not have a big plan for Jesus? Did God the Father not have a big plan for them if He included them in such a significant moment as Jesus’ Transfiguration? How different might they have reacted and felt after Jesus capture and death if they just remembered their “Mountain-Top Experience?” How often do we fall into the same trap and not recognize the awesome things God has done and will continue to do in our life? As the saying goes, we can’t see the forest through the trees.
So, how do we recognize the things God is doing in our life? Pastor Mike says we do 3 things. First, we fall to our knees like they did in Matthew 17:6. We can see Him better this way which leads to the next thing we do which is focus only on Jesus. In Matthew 17:8, when Peter, James, and John looked up after falling to their knees..all they saw was Jesus. Lastly, we follow the empty tomb. Despite things looking as bad they possibly could for 3 days with Jesus dying, we know that ultimately Jesus conquered death and the tomb was empty.
Remembering our personal past “Mountain-Top Experience” is great to remind us what God has done in our lives and can do again and then some. As Ephesians 3:20 says, He can do more than we can ask or imagine through HIS power working within us. And let us also remember Romans 8:28, which tells us He has a plan through all of our troubles to work it for His good. But above all things, let us remember the empty tomb. Romans 8:37 says because of the empty tomb defeating sin and death, “we are more than conquerors” through His love. The same power that conquered sin and death lives within us as well (Romans 8:11). Let us the recall in the midst of all our “Mountain- Top Experiences” and troubles that we fight from victory and not for victory (1 Corinthians 15:57).