Today's reading is 1 Samuel 20,21; Psalm 34; and Matthew 5,17 (Croxford edit...)
After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them... —Matthew 17:1ff
Today marks a very new point in all of your lives. For some, the experience of leaving India after a short-term mission is like a revered custom. You have completed one or two, or ten or twelve trips, and the journey home to Hawaii is a familiar trek, accompanied by sighs of satisfaction, knowing that you’ve given your all during the past 10 or 12 days and in the time leading up to the mission. For some, this entire experience is a new one, and the incredible sense of happiness at completing a God-given task is an amazing high. For everyone, this journey has brought new experiences. Witnessing the power of God in a different country. Recognizing that God is no respecter of persons and provides the Holy Spirit for anyone who will hear His voice.
Matthew 17:1-9 details the transfiguration of our Lord. Jesus took Peter, James and John up a high mountain by themselves and there allowed them to witness a conversation with Moses and Elijah.
Peter, ever bold, speaks and asks Jesus for permission to erect three shelters: one for Jesus, one for Elijah and one for Moses. While he is asking, God shows up in the form of a bright, light cloud that surrounds them, and they hear the voice of God affirming Jesus as the Son of God. The three fall face down in fear and for a few seconds are probably scared witless, wondering if they would survive.
If we ponder this event for a moment, we begin to see that Peter wanted to relish the moment on the mountain top. His request to build shelters seems to be a request to linger in the spot where something unique and special was taking place.
Today as you journey home, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit that some of you are saying quietly, can we just stay a little longer? We have seen God do amazing things; can we just linger here on the mountain; can we indeed build shelters and stay?
There is a phenomenal response that Jesus gives while the three are prone before him. Verse 7 says that Jesus came and touched them, tells them to get up, and they begin their journey down the mountain. As they go, Jesus gives them their task. Tell no one until I have been raised from the dead.
With every mountaintop experience, we are given that same task. We are to recognize the meaning of Jesus’ resurrection and then share our mountain top experiences. The Resurrection gives perspective to life. Because Jesus rose from the dead, we no longer live in fear of death but can share the promise of eternity with God. But in order to do that effectively, we cannot linger in the moments at the mountaintops in our lives. Every mountaintop experience is given to us within the economy of God. He wants us to share those experiences, and to do that requires our entrance back in to the world of Normal.
Your journey home to Hawaii begins today. Your journey off this mountain top has begun, and we are excited to hear of the amazing things that God accomplished, in you and through the team while you were there.
God bless and God speed as you travel together.