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On the Mountain

Photo Credit: Benjamin Joyce

April 7, 2021

Dear Praying Friends,

Thank you for being willing to pray for our prodigals and for revival each Wednesday. Charles Stanley once said, “The time you spend alone with God will transform your character and increase your devotion. Then your integrity and godly behavior in an unbelieving world will make others long to know the Lord.” It could be considered a mountain top experience.

A mountain represents a high spot in our lives. A memorable place. Physically, a mountain is the closest place to heaven. Spiritually, it is often the same.

The Bible is a book of mountains. Abraham and Isaac climbed a mountain to sacrifice to God. They learned that God would provide. Moses climbed Mount Sinai to receive God’s law and there he got a glimpse of His glory. Elijah climbed Mount Carmel to face off with the prophets of Baal, and God proved His mighty power. 

The devil tempted Jesus on a mountain and was silenced by the power of His Word. The famous teaching series of Jesus called “The Sermon on the Mount” highlighted the kingdom values. When Jesus wanted to get alone with His Father, He would climb a mountain to do so.

At the end of His life, when He chose to die for our sins, again He went to a small mountain outside Jerusalem. The Bible calls it Golgotha. For Him, it was a mountain of suffering, but for us, it is a place of salvation and life.

Today, I’d like us to climb Mount Hermon, the mountain most scholars believe to be the Mount of Transfiguration. Three of Jesus' disciples, Peter, James, and John climbed it with Jesus approximately 9200 feet above sea level. A-once-in-a-lifetime-event! They heard the voice of the Father. They saw the glory of Jesus. And they were changed!

They saw His glory. It says of Jesus, “And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light” (Mat. 17:2). It is impossible to look straight at the sun without damaging our eyes. It is just too bright and those ultraviolet rays will hurt our retinas. 

Try to imagine what it must have been for these three men as Jesus' face became so gloriously bright that they were unable to look. What was it? It was the glory of God shining forth in unhindered majesty: not reflected glory but radiating glory. The eternal Son of God pulling back the veil of His true essence. 

It is hard to imagine that in such a time and place like this that these men fell asleep! “Now Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep, but when they became fully awake they saw His glory and the two men who stood with him” (Lk. 9:32). Maybe the long trek up the mountain tired them out. Yet it says, “When they became fully awake they saw His glory.” 

Sleep makes one unconscious of the surroundings. To be fully awake is to be aware, attentive, and watchful. They were jolted out of lethargy into total alertness. On the mountain, they saw His glory!

They heard the voice of the Father. There seemed to be quite a bit of chatter happening, especially from Peter. He was afraid and so he talked. Then it all came to an immediate standstill. Dead silence. A cloud obscuring all sight. A voice: deep and thunderous. The voice of God the Father saying, “This is my beloved Son; listen to Him” (Mk. 9:7).

It was the same voice that was heard at the Jordon river when Jesus was baptized. But here are the added three words, “Listen to Him.” 

After all the suggestions and ideas of Peter, the Father says, “You need to listen to my Son. He’s the one with the authority. He’s the one with all the wisdom. He’s the one who knows what is best.” They heard the voice of God!

And they were changed. While we don’t know exactly how this experience affected them immediately; we do know that Peter wrote about it over thirty years later and he was still in awe! 

“We were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,’ we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain” (2 Pet. 1:16-18).

Peter concludes his remarks by saying, “We were with Him.” How simple! How natural! And yet how beautiful! It was this that changed them forever. 

They saw Him. They heard Him. They were changed by Him. May it be the same for us!

Love in Christ,

Bryan and Rachel


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