July 22, 2009

Wild Ride on a High Mountain

Elijah and Moses are alive?

Clothes dazzling brighter than bleach?

Clouds that speak?

Peter, James and John must have been speechless – well, except for Peter, who said something even though he didn’t know what to say.

The transfiguration is unique among the many events recorded in the Gospels. It assures us that we indeed live beyond our earthly lives – not by telling us so, but by showing us! The patriarchs and prophets are indeed “gathered to their people” (Gen. 25:8, 25:17, 35:29, 49:33Gen. 25:8, 25:17, 35:29, 49:33
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8 Abraham gave up the spirit, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years, and was gathered to his people. 25 The first came out red all over, like a hairy garment. They named him Esau.

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, etc.). It also shows us that they are able – when it’s for God’s purposes – to return to earth, which helps us to understand other events in scripture better (Rev. 11:6-12Rev. 11:6-12
English: World English Bible - WEB

6 These have the power to shut up the sky, that it may not rain during the days of their prophecy. They have power over the waters, to turn them into blood, and to strike the earth with every plague, as often as they desire. 7 When they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up out of the abyss will make war with them, and overcome them, and kill them. 8 Their dead bodies will be in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified. 9 From among the peoples, tribes, languages, and nations people will look at their dead bodies for three and a half days, and will not allow their dead bodies to be laid in a tomb. 10 Those who dwell on the earth rejoice over them, and they will be glad. They will give gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth. 11 After the three and a half days, the breath of life from God entered into them, and they stood on their feet. Great fear fell on those who saw them. 12 I heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here!” They went up into heaven in the cloud, and their enemies saw them.

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Most importantly, a voice from the cloud commands all present to listen to Jesus. We know this is the voice of God the Father because He calls Jesus His Son. So all those claims Jesus makes, all His teaching, are to be taken as, well, Gospel! We can’t pick and choose what we want to obey, and reject the others.

I always relate to Peter, though. Like Peter, I tend to speak before I think; and the second it leaves my mouth, I realize how dumb it was, or worse yet, I slowly begin to realize it. At least some people explain my misstatement to me when I never caught it. But when I look at Peter in Acts 2:14-41Acts 2:14-41
English: World English Bible - WEB

14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and spoke out to them, “You men of Judea, and all you who dwell at Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to my words. 15 For these aren’t drunken, as you suppose, seeing it is only the third hour of the day about AM. 16 But this is what has been spoken through the prophet Joel: 17 ‘It will be in the last days, says God, That I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh. Your sons and your daughters will prophesy. Your young men will see visions. Your old men will dream dreams. 18 Yes, and on my servants and on my handmaidens in those days, I will pour out my Spirit, and they will prophesy. 19 I will show wonders in the sky above, And signs on the earth beneath; Blood, and fire, and billows of smoke. 20 The sun will be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the great and glorious day of the Lord comes. 21 It will be, that whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ 22 “Men of Israel, hear these words! Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved by God to you by mighty works and wonders and signs which God did by him in the midst of you, even as you yourselves know, 23 him, being delivered up by the determined counsel and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by the hand of lawless men, crucified and killed; 24 whom God raised up, having freed him from the agony of death, because it was not possible that he should be held by it. 25 For David says concerning him, ‘I saw the Lord always before my face, For he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved. 26 Therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced. Moreover my flesh also will dwell in hope; 27 Because you will not leave my soul in Hades, Neither will you allow your Holy One to see decay. 28 You made known to me the ways of life. You will make me full of gladness with your presence.’ 29 “Brothers, I may tell you freely of the patriarch David, that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, he would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, 31 he foreseeing this spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that neither was his soul left in Hades, nor did his flesh see decay. 32 This Jesus God raised up, to which we all are witnesses. 33 Being therefore exalted by the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this, which you now see and hear. 34 For David didn’t ascend into the heavens, but he says himself, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit by my right hand, 35 Until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”’ 36 “Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” 37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized, everyone of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For to you is the promise, and to your children, and to all who are far off, even as many as the Lord our God will call to himself.” 40 With many other words he testified, and exhorted them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation!” 41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized. There were added that day about three thousand souls.

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– WOW! 3,000 people responded to Peter’s words that day. If Jesus could train up my kindred Peter, there may be hope for me. I know that time hasn’t come yet, because I’m still not sure what was wrong with what Peter said in Mk. 9:5Mk. 9:5
English: World English Bible - WEB

5 Peter answered Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let’s make three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”

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Peter gives me hope in his failures as well as in his later victories. Peter may have failed a few times, but it’s his endurance that inspires. A few weeks ago in this blog, we discussed Peter speaking both with heaven-sent insight and words from Satan. In Acts we see Peter moving thousands to repentance. Are you like Peter – like me? Will you retreat in isolation and shyness because of embarrassment from past mistakes, or will you forge ahead and keep speaking, knowing that eventually you’ll bring more to wisdom than you alienate? Speak up and you’ll eventually speak truth.