Feb. 14, 2010
Occasionally, I invite someone else to come preach. Today, I’ve asked Peter to come tell us about the Transfiguration in his own words:
I. The Call
How did I first come to follow Jesus? I know your pastor has already told you some of the story in recent sermons, but I think you need to hear this from my perspective.
It started that day my mother-in-law was sick. She was just lethargic and lay on her palette, trying to sleep it off. This fever was persistent. She didn’t get better. She was older, and we were afraid we might lose her.
We attended synagogue on that Sabbath, and there was this teacher who amazed us all because there was an authority about Him as He spoke. Everyone reacted to what He said. There was even a demon who said, “We know who You are! You’re the Holy One of God!”
Not long after, Jesus was teaching by the lakeside. It was a mob scene. I was through fishing for the night so I let Him sit in my boat and teach. I knew what it was like to need elbow room.
Jesus could hold the audience in the palm of His hand as He spoke. I was half-listening, half-preoccupied with wanting to get home and rest after a lot of hard work went into not catching anything. We were putting our nets away when He told us to put out into the deep water and let our nets down for a catch.
It was amazing. The net was so full that I thought the boat was going to sink. I knew we’d be on the cover of Fisherman’s Weekly after such an incredible catch!
Jesus invited me to follow Him. He told me that instead of going after fish, my life’s purpose would be to help Him catch men and women for the Kingdom
What an honor that was! I was the first called to be one of Jesus’ followers. I saw Jesus teach and heal and the crowds flock around Him. How could anyone object to what He was doing? He healed people. He made lives better. People didn’t walk away from Him unmoved or unchanged.
II. The Climax
It was after Jesus’ early wave of popularity that He took us up as far away as we could get for retreat. He was praying. That’s something we couldn’t help but notice about Jesus. He always was in connection with God.
It was while we were on retreat that He asked, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” He knew what people were saying, and He knew what we knew, but He wanted to hear us say it, I guess. He asked, “Who do you say that I am?” I said, “You are the Christ of God.”
We still didn’t understand what that would mean. We had triumphal notions and delusions of grandeur. We still had this idea that maybe, just maybe, this would be where He would say, “This is what we’re going to do. We’re going to stir up all of these crowds and by this time next year, I’ll be the king of Judea and
you’ll be my staff.” Some of my fellow disciples liked the sound of that.
Jesus said, “The Son of Man will be killed.” Up until now, we had triumphal visions—but Jesus was telling us He was going to die. What was lost on us was that after He died, He would be raised back to life.
III. The True Meaning
We’d had visions of great things happening to us. We thought greatness would come in political power and influence. We had visions of one kind of kingdom,
and it seemed that Jesus’ Kingdom was something different.
I’ve said all of that to tell you this: We were wondering who would die before they saw the Kingdom of God come in power.
We had a week to think. Jesus felt a compulsion to pray. When he went up onto a mountain, He took us with Him.
Jesus started pouring out His heart in prayer. He had a connection with His Father, and He knew how to pray. It was while He was praying that we saw something that defies description. He must have been praying for strength for this new focus in His ministry. As He was praying, His face started glowing. His clothes were like lightning. There on that mountaintop, we saw His appearance totally change. It was as if there was a 10,000-watt light bulb shining out from Him.
Then, it was like being in a Hall of Fame of God-followers because Moses and Elijah were standing there with this radiant appearance talking to Jesus. I was too overwhelmed to remember anything about what they said. They were talking to Him about His departure—His exodus. It was the Exodus that we commemorated every year as a reminder of God’s deliverance of our people. It signified that God was our Deliverer. Now Moses and Elijah themselves spoke with Jesus and encouraged Him regarding His exodus, which would take place soon.
I just had to say something. I remembered erecting booths at the feast of booths, so I said, “Hey! Let’s build some booths here and savor this moment.” Looking back, I was such a dunce.
Instead of sitting there in awe and taking it in, I thought I had to say something. At least Luke makes it sound like I was just tired.
Just like it was at His baptism, God said, “I love you, Son; I’m proud of You. You’re on track, and You’ll remain in My favor by staying on track.” The rest of it, I interpreted as, “Peter, I gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason. Listen to Jesus!”
On a mountaintop, glowing face, each of them affecting some sort of Exodus, but now here was Moses and Elijah deferring to Jesus. It helped to confirm in my mind the reality of who Jesus was and His mission. When I wrote to the early Christians, I said, “For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.'”
If we ever had any doubts about who Jesus was, that experience on the mountaintop settled it once and for all. Jesus is amazing. The more I look at myself and the more I look at Him, the more amazed I am.