Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Mount of Transfiguration

Some eight days after these sayings, He took along Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And while He was praying, the appearance of His face became different, and His clothing became white and gleaming. And behold, two men were talking with Him; and they were Moses and Elijah, who, appearing in glory, were speaking of His departure which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and his companions had been overcome with sleep; but when they were fully awake, they saw His glory and the two men standing with Him. And as these were leaving Him, Peter said to Jesus, "Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three tabernacles: one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah"--not realizing what he was saying. While he was saying this, a cloud formed and began to overshadow them; and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. Then a voice came out of the cloud, saying, "This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!" And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent, and reported to no one in those days any of the things which they had seen.  (Luke 9:28-36)

As we follow the disciples and their Master we are led to another mountain.  This is truly what we would call a “mountain-top” experience; a deeply spiritual time at a very special place.  Is it possible to disassociate experience and faith?  Not if our faith is living and active in affecting our lives.  It is commonly supposed that this was Mount Tabor, a high mountain in Galilee. The name of the mountain is not, however, mentioned in the New Testament.  Let’s climb with Jesus up this special mountain.

Jesus leads them up into a high mountain, and there is transfigured before them: the appearance of His face became different, and His clothing became white and gleaming. Moses and Elias appeared also, talking with Him.  

The word "transfigured" is a very interesting word. The Greek word is "metamorpho" and it means to transform, literally or figuratively to metamorphose, or to change. The word is a verb that means to change into another form. It also means to change the outside to match the inside.  In the case of the transfiguration of Jesus Christ it means to match the outside with the reality of the inside. To change the outward so that it matches the inward reality.  

The greatest evidence of a valid Christian experience is not the fact that we can have them, but the change that they bring. To live the Christian life without experience is to miss a vital part of God's gift.  There is nothing unemotional about living with the Lord in powerful faith.  Every mountain they climbed was an emotional event for all of them.  It is hard to believe that a person can encounter the Lord and not "experience" Him. 

That is what the experience of Jesus does to us.  If we are willing, it will change us, transform us.  The Experiences of Discipleship are validated by this powerful and inspirational event in the lives of the disciples who gathered. The impact was so great that they wanted to remain in the place forever.  The experience was unexplainable to those who were not present, but it changed all of them.

There are experiences of great joy as we realize who He is as the disciples did.  There are experiences of brokenness that culminate in the freedom of forgiveness as He changes us.  There are the experiences of awe as we stand in the evidence of His holiness.  Experience is not the end of faith, but it is not opposed to faith either.  All these experiences come together to make you the person Christ wants you to be and the person He can use.  Embrace the experiences and allow the transformation.  Become the new creature He is creating in you and release your passion for His glory.

Scripture to Claim:
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.  (Romans 12:2)

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