Wow! How lucky were Peter, James and John? They were chosen by Jesus to go up the mountain with him. That alone most probably felt like a special moment, to be chosen to accompany Jesus. Peter had already identified Him as ‘the Christ’ or ‘the Messiah’ and they now had the privilege of accompanying Him on this journey. Now, in biblical times things had a habit of happening when up a mountain. Both Elijah and Moses met God on the mountain top. And sure enough, something did happen. Jesus was transfigured. He became whiter than white; He was radiant not just his face as Moses’ had but his clothes too and there was Elijah and Moses! Wow! Peter wanted to make this moment last. “Let us built three tents” he said. You can’t really blame him. He knew that this was special and didn’t want it to end.
I remember when I had my first date with the man who was to become my husband. We had gone out for afternoon tea. It was June and a glorious sunny day. We went to a lovely tea room in Nidderdale. Later we met some friends and went for a drink. We were having such a great time. When he took me home, we sat in the car talking for hours. We both said that we didn’t want the day to end. We knew it had to but we didn’t want it to.
I’m sure you have had special moments in your lives that you didn’t want to end. Times that are etched into your memory and will always leave you with a warm feeling inside. It might have been your first date or maybe your wedding day. We all have special moments but that moment which Peter, James and John had was truly out of this world.
The next thing that happened to them surpasses anything they could have imagined. They had been told that “some standing here right now will not die before they see the kingdom of God arrive in great power.” And here they were seeing Jesus in His glory, confirming that he truly was the Messiah. The mountain is overshadowed with cloud and God speaks to them! He tells them “This is my beloved son. Listen to Him.” They have a glimpse of the kingdom of God. Wow! Peter wasn’t rebuked as he had been previously, when he didn’t like Jesus saying, that He would suffer and die before He could rise again. He hadn’t understood what he was being told and didn’t like what Jesus was saying. This time he has an encounter with God himself and is told to “Listen” to my son.
We all need to listen to what God is saying. Sometimes we don’t like what we hear. When I had my encounter with God and He told me that I was to give up my home in Yorkshire and come to Malvern to study Him, I was scared. I was going into the unknown and very much out of my comfort zone. But I was obedient, and He was right. I hold that moment special in my mind and when I am struggling and missing my family, I recall it. I recall it when I am having good moments too. When I have climbed up the hill and I can see for miles. It brings me comfort in the knowledge that I don’t know what the future holds but He does.
Wow moments don’t happen all the time. If they did, they wouldn’t be special. We still need to listen to God and tune in to what He is saying to us. The more time we spend listening the more opportunities we have to encounter God. We might not always like what He is saying to us, like Peter. But ultimately, it will be for the best.
I pray that each and every one of us can have encounters with God that they can hold dear in their hearts, to keep them strengthened in not just times of strife but also in times of joy.
This message was written by Helen Buck who is a student working with Ken Martin this year as part of her course.