In the presence of the Son of Man, Peter is silenced.
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, and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. 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.” For he did not know what to say, for they were terrified. And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.” And suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them but Jesus only.
And as they were coming down the mountain, he charged them to tell no one what they had seen, until the Son of Man had risen from the dead.
We Must First Rightly Hear
by Chris Nikkel
Jesus is continuing to prove he is even more powerful than the disciples could have imagined. Jesus takes Peter, James and John to the mountains one day. Jesus climbs the mountain and is transfigured, meaning radiantly transformed. Suddenly, Jesus is talking with two of the greatest Old Testament figures in Elijah and Moses.
Peter had just been rebuked only six days earlier. In fact, his sin was so detestable to Jesus that he called Peter, “Satan.” Now in awe of the Son of Man, glowing and beautiful, Peter devises a plan to build tents for Jesus, Moses and Elijah. Peter does not know what else to do so he defaults into action. He knows something supernatural is taking place here and he does not want to leave it behind.
Isn’t it fascinating that the voice of the Father jumps in at this point and simply gives the command to listen to Jesus? Throughout the gospel narratives, the Son of Man is calling people to first hear him, before he commands them to do anything. Before he calls them to speak or act, he calls them to listen. He shows those around him that, in order to rightly do or to rightly follow, they must first rightly hear.
Our culture today teaches us to do before we listen, to act before we pray. Like Peter, the church often chooses to keep the supernatural workings of the Son of Man to ourselves. We act as if we can control the works of God, as if our actions ar holy in and of themselves. As we spring into action, often we forget that the invitation extended to us by Jesus is to merely, “Come and see.”
Peter wanted to show his commitment by inviting the mysterious work of God and to keep it close to himself. We tend to do the same. However, God the Father shows his commitment to his people by calling them to listen to His Son. This was the call to the disciples when Jesus walked among them and it is the same call to his church today.
- What are your current rhythms of listening to the Son of Man? Do you pray often? Do you carve out time to just listen to God the Father? How does prayer look in your life, as it was modeled by Jesus?
- Have you ever taken the time to sit and to be still in the presence of God? What did you learn? Did you feel God say anything to you or gain some clarity? Share this with your Missional Community.
- What would your reaction be on that mountain? Do you identify with the disciples, with Peter?
- How do you live out the command, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him?”
you have revealed the glory
of your love in Jesus Christ,
and have given us a share in your Spirit.
May we who listen to Christ follow you faithfully,
and, in the dark places where you send us,
reveal the light of your gospel. Amen.