Mountain Experience

Read This Week: Matthew 17

After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.
– Matthew 17:1-3 NIV

The Scriptures are filled with mountain experiences. The Ark came to rest on the top of a mountain after The Flood. Abraham’s ultimate test of faith with his Son, Isaac, took place on a mountain. God gave Moses the Ten Commandments on a mountain. Elijah defeated the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel, and Isaiah assured Israel that Mount Zion would be the site of a feast unlike any in the history of the world. Jesus’ teaching of The Be-Attitudes happened on a mountain; He died for the sin of the world on Golgotha, a mountain outside the city gate, and in Matthew 17, He revealed Himself as the Son of God to Peter, James, and John high up on a mountain. Mountains are significant to how God speaks.

In the previous chapter, Jesus establishes Himself as the One over and among all by the disciples’ confession. He was no ordinary man or even a great prophet or leader like Elijah or Moses, but He was indeed the Son of God. Jesus confirmed the words of Peter and that his declaration was revealed to him by the Lord. Now, he would show that He was the Son of God in a spectacular demonstration of His glory upon a mountain. He takes three disciples with Him, and verses 2-3 tell us of this incredible scene:

There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.

The transfiguration was a statement about Jesus’ authority and power. This revelation demanded that people receive Jesus as transcendent and One who had the divine credibility to speak to them. It revealed that Jesus alone is supreme over all men and that Moses and Elijah were vessels and servants that fulfilled a temporary purpose in God’s ultimate plan. Jesus establishing Himself as the High Priest and prophet caused so much division in the early church, yet God had already instituted this.

The transfiguration also confirmed the glory of God, and that the mission of the gospel and the advancement of the kingdom would reveal that same glory. The three selected disciples saw a preview of this and it encouraged and emboldened them with the truth of Jesus. They could trust His identity and place their faith in His promises, provision, and power just as we can today for the same reason.

This mountaintop experience was not random. It was a precisely timed event within the will of God to show the disciples and us what kind of Messiah Jesus was and is. It demonstrates the greatness of the Lord and helps us tear down our limited and human notions of Jesus and how he relates to us. Our mountain experiences are not random either. God uses them to show us who He is and what our potential is in Him. He meets us there, teaches us, changes our lives, and sends us back into the world with faith, hope, and joy to be on mission with Him.

7 Comments

  1. Heidi on August 28, 2021 at 1:01 pm

    Matthew 17:20 says, “He answered, “Because of your little faith [your lack of trust and confidence in the power of God]; for I assure you and most solemnly say to you, [c]if you have [living] faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and [if it is God’s will] it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”

    We see Jesus walking by faith with Father God, His journey continues as He continues to Jerusalem ministering to those who want to listen. Did you know really know that Father God chose you, handpicked you? You are special just like Moses was a special servant. Matthew, Peter, James, John, even like Ruth, Ester, the list goes on and on, were all God’s children, we’re all on a journey with Father God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.

    Just like all these heroes and heroines, they all had to learn and listen to our Jesus. Like it says if it’s God’s will. How do we know? By spending time with them, reading your bible, listening, and responding. Doing it with them, faith is a life-shaping attitude towards Father God, when you have faith you consider God in everything because He cares, you learn to trust Him, you learn He knows everything before you even ask. That mountain, issues, problems, suffering, hurts, people don’t understand what your going through, God does, He is right there for, as we trust and go through it with Father God it’s more comforting, He blesses us, may not look like it sometime but He is.

    So just like Jesus you too are someone’s hero or heroine. You can share Jesus’ love and help to others all you got to do is ask God how you can help others and trust and believe that God is going to help you with your mountains! Thank you, Father God, Jesus, and your Holy Spirit.

    • Jason on September 1, 2021 at 9:47 am

      This is some wonderful commentary, Heidi. This section about the great figures of the Bible and their faith really stood out to me:

      They all had to learn and listen to Jesus. Like it says if it’s God’s will, how do we know? By spending time with them, reading the Bible, listening, and responding. Doing it with them, faith is a life-shaping attitude towards Father God, when you have faith you consider God in everything because He cares, you learn to trust Him.

      Sometimes, I think we can get the impression that these heroes and heroines of the Bible were superhuman. That they had some extra supernatural ability in and of themselves that caused them to do great things for God. But, we discover that they were just like us. They were men and women who exercised faith in the one, true God and followed Him in obedience. They allowed the Spirit of God to empower them to do and accomplish the Lord’s will. We can do the same!

  2. Jeri Centers on August 28, 2021 at 1:39 pm

    God gave me a poem from Matthew 17 verse 20:

    Faith does make things easier.
    It will make life a lot breezier.

    Faith can and will make things possible
    When you give to God the improbable.

    Faith does make problems lighter
    It will make life a whole lot kinder.

    Faith can and will make things workable
    When you give Jesus the imaginable.

    Faith does make life go smoother
    But God can make you a mountain mover.

    What that means to me is that true faith always involves the will of God. I believe in your weaker times, God will strengthen you. Everything is according to God’s will. I have a question? Where is your faith today? Do you make it hard or do you make it easy doing it with Jesus?

    • Jason on September 1, 2021 at 8:51 am

      I love this Jeri. This line lifted my spirits and infused some hope into my heart:

      Faith can and will make things possible
      When you give to God the improbable.

      I’ve always connected to and been inspired by the reality of God doing the impossible and the faith that He honors in our lives on the earth. He is the God of the impossible and we’ve all seen Him do things and accomplish things that seem improbable to us.

  3. almaschmidt on August 28, 2021 at 11:16 pm

    This week, God gave me a song from Matthew 17 called “Praising”:

    We praise you, praise you, we praise you, our Father God
    Just knowing you are always here willing to help guide us through

    Yes, we believe, we believe
    We are trusting in you, our Lord
    We have faith, we know you are standing near doing our life together

    Thanking you, thanking you
    I know you’re smiling because we have faith and trust in your love in our hearts
    We praise you, we praise you, we are praising you. our Lord. Amen.

    Thank you, Lord, for always being there even when I have doubt. I’m learning more to trust in you. You are so amazing. You give me everything I need and I love you.

    • Jason on September 1, 2021 at 8:28 am

      I enjoyed your song as always, Alma. I loved this line and it made me smile as well at the thought of God delighting in our praise of Him and our faith in His love and goodness: I know you’re smiling because we have faith and trust in your love in our hearts.

      I think we all need that on a daily basis as believers. It also made me think of Proverbs 8:30-31:

      And I was daily His delight,
      Rejoicing always before Him,
      Rejoicing in the world, His earth…

  4. Kathy on September 21, 2021 at 9:57 am

    This is what I got from Matthew 17. I made you My child not because I needed you, but because you needed a Father. You should listen to My word. Fill your mind with it. Be hungry for your time with Me.If you are a disciple of Jesus, follow Him. He will lead you. It is easy to feel christian, in the moments of prayer and meditation. It is easy to feel close to Me when the world is shut out. I want you to rise from your knees before Me, to meet others and to face the problems of life. I don’t want you to get in a rut of being mechanical in your ministry. I want you to wish for the presence of Jesus and pursue Him. Bring Him your problems. A small amount of faith can accomplish great things, if that small amount of faith is placed in Me. What is the object of your faith? You show your faith in and reliance on Me, through prayer and fasting.

    What this said to me is all my faith should be in God and Jesus. I don’t want to get too comfortable. I need to step out in faith. I need to fully open my heart to Jesus and follow Him. He will lead me if I let Him.

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