Jesus just had some tough exchanges with the disciples, telling them how He would suffer and die, rebuking Peter for wanting to stop it, and telling them they must deny themselves, take up their crosses and follow Him. It was heavy and hard to hear. But God is so good and tender with us, knowing what we need when we need it; giving us a glimpse of beauty and hope, both to keep us going in the moment and to be a sweet reminder when we need it.
Jesus takes Peter, James, and John up to a mountain. Maybe these three were most troubled by what Jesus had just shared with them. Or, maybe they were just plain trouble…the ones you can’t trust to leave alone. Regardless of why, Jesus select these three to join Him in something spectacular.
Before their eyes, Jesus is transfigured – transformed. The glory His temporary earthly flesh had been concealing was peeking through. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became white as light.
If that wasn’t enough, Moses and Elijah appear. Moses, representing the law, and Elijah, the prophets. All the glorious fulfillment together and engaging in a conversation right there in their presence. I think about Moses in Deuteronomy 34:1-4 when after 40 years of leading a grumbling people through the wilderness, on the cusp of stepping foot into the promised land, God takes Moses to the top of a mountain to show him the promised land he won’t be permitted to enter because of his disobedience. It felt so harsh, but here Moses is 1,400 years later…on a mountain again, this time with God, Jesus, and Elijah. I think Moses is all good. God takes care of His people.
Peter, being Peter (I love Peter!), suggests they pitch some tents and all stay awhile. Who can blame him? This is incredible. Roughly a week earlier Peter was rebuked by Jesus; now he is rebuked by God. In mid-sentence, God’s presence in a bright cloud overshadows them, and He says, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”
Don’t talk, Peter. Listen. Listen to Jesus. Eyes on Him.
The foursome comes down the mountain to the crowd below. A man greets them whose son the disciples were unable to heal. The disciples had been given authority and power to heal by Jesus, but this was a stubborn one. Jesus criticizes their lack of faith and instantly heals the boy.
“Why could we not cast it out?” the disciples ask.
Jesus tells them they must have faith. It is tempting to read this and think we just need to muster up more faith. But Jesus is quick to point out that faith even as small as a mustard seed can move mountains. It isn't more faith...it is faith in the right thing. Faith in Jesus and His power alone. Faith in His purpose and plan and will. With this faith, nothing is impossible.
Sometimes we can get in a rut, going through the motions of what worked before. But we need to come to Jesus. We need to put our faith in Him and His power. Big faith in our strength or wisdom or past successes may produce little things at best, but even tiny faith in a big God can move mountains.
There is hope and power when we look to the light. When things get hard, impossible even, God will be there to give us that beautiful glimpse into His goodness we need to get us through.
God, help me to keep my eyes on You. Please let me be aware of the ways You are showing Yourself to me at just the moment I need it. Take my ridiculously small mustard seed size faith and let Your power have its way.
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