Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Bethany Bullet - March 8, 2011

The Transfiguration event begins with a journey.

You come back from a trip and you can’t wait to tell people what you saw. Of course, Peter, James, and John are forbidden from doing so until after Easter. “Jesus instructed them, ‘Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.’” (Matthew 17:9b)

I was thinking about the places I’ve been and the sites that come to mind.

I have been to the Eternal City, Rome. It is called the Eternal City for a host of reasons; one is that it would take years to see all the significant, beautiful, and profound sites it holds. You know what I can see right now? It is a plate of lasagna with tortellini in white sauce with peas.

I have been to Vienna, the home of music’s finest composers, conductors, operas, and music halls. Yet by now you know what I see in my mind’s eye right? There it is, a golden brown schnitzel as big as my head with the most delightful and unique greens on the side.

I have been to one of the most charming cities; it rests on the Regnitz and Main rivers, Bamberg Germany. Incredible Bavarian architecture and beautiful scenery and what I see in my mind’s eye, the “Bamberg onion.”

I have been to the City of Lights, the City that Never Sleeps, Bean-town and a lot of in between towns and the same things are seen in my memory for each. I suppose you could conclude - I’m hungry guy. Obviously I enjoy eating; however what you wouldn’t know without more information is that each one of those meals was enjoyed in the company of those dear to me. Each one of those events captured in my mind’s eye provides a measure of security as when you break bread with those you love, you feel whole and safe. Each one of those moments provides relevancy. You see, not everyone likes museums and art. Not everyone enjoys ancient old historical sites. I’ve been told on occasion, “Just how many churches can one person see?” but everyone eats. Company, security, and relevancy they are all part and parcel to such dining experiences.

Company, security, and relevancy are on the menu (so to speak), they are part and parcel to the Transfiguration experience of Peter.

All three Gospels record the account of the Transfiguration of Jesus. However, while Mark states that “Peter was terrified” so he offered to build three shelters, “One for you (Jesus), one for Moses, and one for Elijah”; Luke says that Peter had no idea what to say, hence the first thing that popped to mind sprang from his lips and he offered to build the tents. Matthew, on the other hand, tells us nothing of Peter’s heart or mind, only his offer.

Since it is recorded in Scripture - all are true. Fear and flabbergasted can easily cohabitate in the heart. But beyond that I believe Peter was hungry for company, security, and relevancy.

Peter was hungry for company. Right after they come off the mountain you know what we hear Peter say? “Jesus we’ve given up everything to follow you.” Is he feeling the pains of separation? He is on the mountain; his wife, family, and company employees are all back in Galilee. While on the mountain he was in the company of the saints; those gone before who themselves had followed at great cost and Peter saw in them faith’s course run to completion before he had finished it. He wanted that company.

Peter was hungry for security. Right before they went up the mountain you know what we heard Peter say? “Never Lord, you’ll never die.” More importantly you know what we heard Jesus say in reply, “Get behind me Satan.” Jesus called Peter the devil! Here and now, the folk tongue was forgotten. Here and now, Jesus no longer conceals His identity under the ordinary. Here and now, Peter no longer need rely upon the promise of the fathers, the words of the prophets, nor even the works of the Christ. Jesus has shown Himself to be the very thing Peter had earlier confessed Him to be, God. Peter is no longer an adversary, he is an ally; one close enough to reveal Himself too. Aren’t we all hungry for such security?

Peter was hungry for relevancy. Peter had not just been called the devil prior to the climb, he had been told to get behind Jesus; only to hear Jesus say, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Here was Peter’s opportunity for “relevancy.” Moses and Elijah had done so much and now they were encouraging and cheering on Jesus. Peter wanted to do his part – what did he have to give? If they were on the shore or at a lake, do you think Peter might have offered to supply lunch? “Why don’t I catch some fish, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah?” Yet they were on a mountain, Peter worked with his hands, and yet he would only do so for Jesus. Note: there are 6 in attendance yet, Peter only proposes 3 shelters. Is he practicing the self-denial Jesus calls for? He longed for relevancy.

In Jesus’ presence Peter found (and we find) the company for which everyone hungers.

As we dine at the banquet table of the Lamb we join the company of all those who have ever been here before; we have supper with those now sainted in heaven as well as with those who are yet unborn but shall one day in the future be drawn to altar of the Lord. At the table you join the company of friends or strangers who have become family through the meal that is shared and bread of life that is provided.

In Jesus’ presence Peter found (and we find) the security for which all hunger. Here at this place the Lord Himself has sat, we are granted security that the world can never know. The promise that sin is forgiven and that “Neither life nor death, angels nor demons, the present nor the future nor any powers, neither height nor depth nor anything else in all of creation will separate us from His love.”

In Jesus presence Peter found (and we find) the relevancy for which each heart hungers. When we leave this table we don’t just exit with a full belly, a fond memory, and a nice snapshot – we go with a filled spirit, a living promise, and to become the means by which people will see a glimpse of God and hear the word of His work in the world. “After the Son of Man has been raised from the dead” tell them what you’ve seen.

-Pastor Kevin Kritzer


Post a Comment

<< Home

Free Hit Counter