Peter – Mountaintop Experience

SEARCHING HIS WORD

SEEKING HIS HEART

Have you ever been to summer camp or a fall retreat? You may have come back feeling like you had a “mountaintop experience”—not because there were mountains all around, but because your mind, your heart, or your spirit was lifted from the mundane to a new level of spiritual experience.

Peter sure could use a lift after Jesus had to set him back just days before. (See last week’s post, “Peter – One Step Back”)

Jesus is still determined to work with Peter, because He knows Peter’s potential. Isn’t that a comforting thought for when we feel down on ourselves? God knows your potential.

Jesus is going up the mountain, probably Mt. Hermon, to pray. He decides to take his inner circle with him—Peter, James, and John: Peter, who will eventually be the leader of the disciples after the resurrection, James, who will be the first to be martyred, and John who will endure to old age and will record the Revelation of Jesus.

Little do they know what is in store this day.

Once up the mountain, Jesus’ appearance is totally transformed or transfigured as the Bible says.

His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Matthew 17:2

(Years later, John will see this again in his vision of Jesus’ with his resurrected body.) 

As if that weren’t earth shaking enough…

Just then, there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. Matthew 12:3

Gasp! Our mouths would be hanging open with awe at this point. But our man, Peter, feels he must jump in to do something! Something to honor the lawgiver, prophet, and Messiah. He says,

“Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” Matthew 17:4

We can’t imagine this experience could be anymore mountaintop, but here it comes.

While Peter was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, 

“This is my son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” Matthew 17:5

Have you heard that before? At Jesus’ baptism? Yes, it is God himself! Peter is urged to listen, not talk.

They fall on their faces, terrified. Jesus comes and touches them.

“Get up,” he says. “Don’t be afraid.” When they look up, they see no one but Jesus.” Matthew 17:7

I wonder how often, in the next few years, they each thought about this scene. It certainly had to have made a lasting impression on them, a remembrance to hold in their minds, a sense of God’s physical presence with them.

Think back about your mountaintop memories, a time when God became very real to you. A time when he rescued you, encouraged you, brought you through a scary time, led you beyond belief, stirred in your heart. Remember, praise His name, and give thanks on this Thanksgiving Day!

~ Joyce ~