Have you ever noticed that the higher we rise the clearer things below become? That is one of the reasons I have always enjoyed being up on a plane. Things below look so orderly and even peaceful.
In Luke 9 we read of Jesus taking Peter, James, and John with Him up on a mountain to pray. (vs. 28) We believe that this took place on Mt. Hermon. This mountain actually has three peaks. Two of them have an altitude of 9,400 feet and the other just a bit less. It would appear that on one of these slopes that Jesus was transfigured before them.
Listen to what happened as He was praying — “the appearance of His face was transformed, and His clothes became dazzling white”. (vs. 29)
What kind of an impact did our LORD’S transfiguration have on Peter, James, and John? I don’t think they ever forgot it. They were deeply impacted by it. In 2 Peter 1:16-18, we read — “For we were not making up clever stories when we told about the powerful coming of our LORD JESUS CHRIST. We saw His majestic splendor with our own eyes when He received honor and glory from God the Father. The voice from the majestic glory of God said to Him, ‘This is My dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy! We ourselves heard that voice from heaven when we were with Him on the Holy Mountain.”
It is obvious their lives were forever changed. Consider what happened to Moses when he was up on the mountain with God for those forty days. He returned with the glow of God all over his face. Have you climbed any spiritual summits and spent such precious time in prayer with the LORD that you were transformed? In the Luke account (9:28-35) we read of our LORD “And as He was praying …” When we are alone with our LORD and engaged with Him in prayer, it changes us.
The trio who went with Jesus almost missed it. We read in verse 32 “Peter and the others had fallen asleep …” But when they woke up, they not only saw their magnificent LORD but they also saw Moses and Elijah who had come to visit with our LORD. We read that they too were “glorious to see.” (vs. 31) They were talking with Jesus about His exodus from this present world, that would soon take place.
I wonder how much we miss out on because we are spiritually asleep. We don’t, on a regular basis climb the spiritual summits to be alone with Christ and so we don’t see things as they really are. I am so glad that the disciples woke up in time to not only witness the transfiguration of Jesus, but they also saw Moses and Elijah.
Peter, filled with awe, not even knowing what he was saying blurted out, “Master, it’s wonderful for us to be here! Let’s make three shelters as memorials — one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” Who wouldn’t want to stay in such an environment with such great company?
While Peter was speaking, we read in verse 34 that “a cloud came and overshadowed them, and they were fearful as they entered the cloud. Suddenly a voice (God’s voice) came out of the cloud saying ‘This is my beloved Son. Hear Him!’”
Think of it — they heard the voice of the Almighty God, affirming His Son, Jesus Christ, and urging them to heed or pay attention to what He had to say. I am so glad that Dr. Luke recorded this amazing experience of what happens when we climb the summit to spend time with our LORD.
One of the things that I like about this account of the transfiguration of Christ is that I believe as we spend time with Him, we will experience a spiritual transformation ourselves.
In Roman 12:1-2, the Apostle Paul says how this transformation can take place. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
In 2 Corinthians 3:18 Paul shares further “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the LORD, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the LORD.” The Holy Spirit, living within us, is committed to bringing about an inner transformation so that we become more and more like Christ. Note: It seems obvious to me from the Luke account of our LORD’S transfiguration that this transformation in us will happen as we spend time in prayer with Him.
My father, in his shop on the farm, had a small forge. He frequently had to work with iron or some other metal. So, he would start a fire on the forge and once it was going well, he would put small pieces of coal on it. The forge had a fan below the basin and every so often he would pump the handle to the fan and it would shoot air into the fire thereby intensifying the heat. At that point, using tongs, he would guide the cold metal into the red-hot fire. It wasn’t long before the metal glowed like the red-hot coals. He would then place it on his anvil and using a special hammer begin to maneuver the metal until he had accomplished what he wanted to do with it.
Our God has a heart full of red-hot love for us and He has an amazing plan for our lives. As we spend time with Him in prayer, our lives begin to change and the image of Christ is in us is formed. I pray that we will climb to the highest summits with Him so that we can get His perspective on life and partner with Him in building His kingdom.