–Â Henry Neufeld
Six days later Jesus took Peter and James and John and brought them to a high mountain apart from the rest, and his appearance was changed in front of them. And his clothes became sparkling white, much whiter than any bleach on earth could make them. And Elijah appeared to them with Moses, and the two of them were talking with Jesus. And Peter responded by saying to Jesus, “Rabbi! This is a good place to be! Let’s make three shelters, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He said this because he didn’t know what he was saying, because they were terrified. Then a cloud overshadowed them, and there was a voice that came from the cloud: “This is my beloved son, listen to him!” And immediately after that they didn’t see anything, except Jesus himself with them. Â Â Â — Mark 9:2-8 (HN)
I hope that we have all had experiences when Jesus was especially close to us and at the same time when he was especially glorious.Â Those are the high points that can help us through our Christian journey.
I don’t know where your high points are, or how you experience them.Â For some people it’s a time of worship in music.Â For me it has most commonly been when I have taken on a passage of scripture to study thoroughly.Â I pray, read the passage many times, ask myself questions about it and meditate on the answers.Â There will be times when I feel Jesus right there telling me about that passage.Â For others, it may be a time of retreat.
Whatever it is, if you have experienced it, you’ll be in some sympathy with Peter here.Â The one thing that you know is that you really want to stay right there and never move.Â It’s too precious a moment and too wonderful a feeling.Â I have a friend who will say that there are no drugs that can create a high as good as God’s presence.Â (To those of you who might worry, let me assure you that my friend is not saying that the presence of God is like a drug high, only better.Â What he’s saying is that God’s presence is so there – that you have no hope of counterfeiting it with drugs.)
You really want to set up camp.Â You really want to stay there.Â But hear me:Â This is only a taste!Â The disciples are just tasting God’s presence.Â They are just tasting being with Jesus in his glory.Â That overwhelming experience is not the real thing.Â That’s why you can’t set up camp as Peter wanted to.Â It’s not that this is bad; it’s just that this is not where you’re really going.
Here’s some things we can learn about spiritual experience from this passage:
â€“ It’s something God gives us to keep us going.
â€“ We can’t camp where it happens.Â God’s kingdom is inside (Luke 17:21).Â God can visit you wherever you are!
â€“ It won’t answer all your questions.Â The disciples had to go on discussing the resurrection.
â€“ It’s just a taste.Â The full glory comes when we see Jesus face to face.
Let’s not just look for the experience, but let the experience of God’s presence empower us for the next step!Â Let’s find the good place that goes with us all the time.