Teacher, it is good for us to be here. Let us build three shelters…” Mark 9:6
One of the most pivotal scenes in the Gospels is when Jesus transfigured before his three closest friends–Peter, James and John. At that moment he reveals that he has come to fulfill the Law of Moses and the prophecies about the Messiah. It is a defining moment in the fulfillment of God’s story.
Peter, seeing this amazing event unfold, realizes how lucky he is and says, “Wow, it’s good we came on this journey. We should settle in here and enjoy this amazing thing that we have been given. We should build some homes for Jesus, Moses and Elijah and revel in this awesomeness.”
He wants to settle down. He wants to enjoy this spiritual high. He wants to hoard the goodness of this moment for himself.
This is how many of us as followers of Christ act. We are concerned with our own spiritual lives. We want music that uplifts our souls. We want a preacher who is funny, relevant, and insightful. We want what is “good for me.”
Then, once we get it we want to build monuments to remember those moments. We move towards building campaigns, budget meetings and committees to make sure the moment lasts.
Someone famously said that over the course of time movements lead to monuments that eventually become museums, which will become mausoleums, unless the leader constantly moves his followers forward in their mission.
Thanks be to God that this is precisely what Jesus does. He doesn’t chastise Peter’s idea. He does not ridicule him nor does he call him Satan and rebuke him like he did just a few verses earlier.
Rather, Jesus leads him down from that mountain top experience to the day to day grind of life.
When I was following the daily bible reading plan (that I had put together), I thought I made a typo because verse 14 shows up under a new section heading in my bible. However, as I went ahead and read it as part of the Transfiguration passage, I realized it is an essential extension of the story.
For, while Peter thought it was good to put a shelter in place on the top of the mountain with Jesus, down in the valley were people in need of shepherd leadership.
When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them. –Mark 8:14
The mission to seek and save the lost had to continue.
Therefore, if we have had the privilege of experiencing the fullness of Christ in our lives we should not want to shelter and build monuments to those moments in our lives, but rather be eager to seek out the crowds who are desperate for some guidance and healing.
A little over five years ago, I went up the mountain on a retreat with Search Ministries and F3 friends. There, I pondered and wondered what God had in store for the future community that would be called Waypoint. At the close of the retreat, Ken Schultz read us these great lyrics to remind us that while the view on the mountain tops are beautiful, life–and all the arguing, and the grind, and the need for healings–happens down in the valley below.
And I was wondering if you had been to the mountain
To look at the valley below?
Did you see all the roads tangled down in the valley?
Did you know which way to go?
Oh the mountain stream runs pure and clear
And I wish to my soul I could always be here
But there’s a reason for living way down in the valley
That only the mountain knows.
So have you been up the mountain recently to spend time with God? If not, then accept his invitation to “come and see.”
If so, have you gone down the mountain to bring the good news of Christ to the hurting and lonely? If not, then accept his command to “go and be.”