Jesus took Peter, James, and John to the top of a mountain to show them who He really was – not just a great prophet, but God’s own Son. Moses representing the Law, and Elijah representing the prophets, appeared with Jesus. Then God’s voice singled out Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah who possessed divine authority. Jesus would fulfill both the Law and the prophets.
“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” ~ Matthew 5:17 (KJV)
Peter and the others had fallen asleep. When they woke up, they saw Jesus’ glory and the two men standing with him. When Moses and Elijah had left, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, this is a great moment! Let’s build three memorials: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He blurted this out without thinking.
“And it came to pass, as they departed from him, Peter said unto Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias: not knowing what he said.” ~ Luke 9:33(KJV)
Peter may have been thinking of the Feast of Tabernacles, where booths were set up to commemorate the Exodus. God’s deliverance from slavery in Egypt. Peter wanted to keep Moses and Elijah with them. But that was not God’s plan. Peter’s wish to build shelters for Jesus, Moses and Elijah may also show he wished to build a church on three cornerstones; the Law, the prophets, and Jesus. Peter grew in his understanding and eventually he would write:
“Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.” ~ 1 Peter 2:6 (KJV)
Now he understood that Jesus is the name of above all names and only He could be the cornerstone of the church.
Peter, James, and John experienced a wonderful moment on the mountain, and they didn’t want to leave. Sometimes we, too, have such an inspiring experience that we want to stay where we are – away from the reality and problems of our daily life. There can be times we, also, can misinterpret what the Lord is telling us. We may think the Lord wants us to linger on the mountain top with Him, when all along He is telling us to go back down. That’s not always easy knowing that struggles await us in the valley. Yet staying on top of a mountain prohibits us from ministering to others. Instead of becoming spiritual giants, we would soon become dwarfed by our self-centeredness. We need times of retreat and renewal, but only so we can return to minister to the world. Our faith must make sense in the valley as well as on the mountain. Don’t forget what the Bible says:
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me….” ~ Psalm 23:4 (KJV)
So, come down from the mountain into the valley and walk with the Lord and do His work on this earth until He comes again to take us back up on the mountain top called Heaven.