Matthew shares this account in Chapter 17 where Jesus took three of the disciples (Peter, James and John) up a mountain to show them something they might have considered but not conceived to be possible. The account is called the transfiguration. Some have called it a mountain top experience. For me I think its best understood as when words do not approach what has occurred.
I think this was unique for Peter, James and John but I do not really believe it was exclusive. The events exclusive, the intent not so much. I think for each disciple in some manner Jesus does the impossible that has nothing to do with day to day stuff you need. But rather solves the riddles in the back of our minds that we do not (or most of us…I cannot seem to stop wrestling with mine) think about all the time. He peals back one level of our understanding of Him and takes us to another level. He transfigures Himself and leads us to be changed by it. He solves life’s longings with himself and leaves you with unspeakable words.
You have three fisherman going up a mountain and they get more than they bargained for. Jesus the common one who has a way with words and fish and loaves, and women at wells, and….now looks completely different than they had seen before. He was a sort of an ordinary perfect and now that perfection is even more perfect if such a thing can be done. Then two guys they would have known from all their children’s Sunday(… er….Saturday) school lessons show up and begs the question how did the disciples know that they were Moses and Elijah? Then the Father speaks….let that soak in for a moment. The Father clearly tells us the identity of the Son.
Peter speaks up, as he does and says what anyone one of us would do in that event: find a way to stay there. And that’s where this lesson ends. God does inconceivable things that draw your attention to how incredible He is. He makes it abundantly clear that whatever ‘good’ you thought of him will be taken to levels never conceived possible to be done. BUT then He won’t let us stay there.
I am saying this because its true. And because I know that the bible says it. Yet simultaneously I am saying to Jesus “…but help my unbelief.” When you go back down the mountain and the glimpses of light fade and the God-man peals back over perfect humanity and you can’t see the ‘perfect-perfect’ that you saw previously and the voice of God is stilled, back into a Hebrews 11:6 sound and the prophets are not their shouting that God is alive. When you see Him and every fundamental question that you thought was impossible are answered fully and then just as quickly it seems as though those answers are raised again. When He speaks words of comfort, or moments of comfort, sends people of comfort, and you rest in them briefly but then He tells you its time for you to go. Remember Matthew 17:9 as I am trying to remember it also.
I know that you are going back down the mountain with me Lord. I know that you travel with us now. But the perplexity is what do you do when you have seen so much?