There was a particular occasion when Jesus took Peter, James, and John with him on a special adventure. They left the crowds, they left the other disciples, and they ascended a high mountain by themselves. What they witnessed with their eyes and heard with their ears was magnificent. This time with Jesus would aide them greatly in the exciting but tumultuous days yet to come:
And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. And Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” For he did not know what to say, for they were terrified. And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.” And suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them but Jesus only. (Mark 9:2-8)
Upon the mountain, the saw the glory of the Lord. The divine nature of Jesus outshined his humanity. The Shekinah Glory of the Divine Son burst forth from Jesus’ breast.
There, they saw two ministers of the Lord. Moses and Elijah were faithful men who had served well and suffered much. They had lived, and they were no more. Yet, there they were — two saints very comfortable in the presence of the radiant Lord.
Peter, James, and John were struck with fear. Matthew’s account told us of this this. They were then encouraged to get up and fear no longer. That phrase “Fear not” has always been a constant refrain from God to his friends. Understandably, they put forth a plan to build tents on the mountain and keep this thing going. They longed to honor Jesus, their forefathers, and enjoy further times of communion. However, that proved not the wise will of their Heavenly Father — at least not yet.
God was not finished blessing them. In love, the Heavenly Father spoke forth gracious words from a cloud. He said:
… This is my beloved Son; listen to him. (Mark 2:7)
Peter, James, and John were to walk away from the mountain more amazed with Jesus than ever before. But in addition, they were to walk away as humble students of Jesus rest of their days. Jesus’ disciples were to listen to him:
- On that mountain
- As they walked with him on various journeys
- As they meditated on his Old Covenant prophets and their writings
- As they heard ministers teaching in synagogues, temples, and homes
- As they and others received fresh guidance by means of his Holy Spirit
The Father could not have been more clear. They were to show forth their worship by enjoying further grace and listening to the teaching of God’s beloved Son.
Friends, one day Jesus will see us face to face. On that day, we too will be enraptured by his Shekinah Glory. And in addition to his shining presence, we will find ourselves surrounded by Moses, Elijah, Peter, James, John, and all the saints who have gone on before us. What glorious day of grace that will be! Let’s look forward to the paradise over the horizon.
Jesus meets with us today. He lives, with all his glory, inside us. We are his Holy of Holies. We are the temple in which his Shekinah Glory dwells. And though we should naturally fall on our faces in fear and trembling, if we find ourselves doing so we will also hear him gently command, “Fear not.” Perfect love casts our fear, and we are perfectly loved. As redeemed brothers and sisters, we are not in danger in any way. He has made us completely fit to be in his presence and see him face to face. Look at him with confidence. Embrace him as he embraces you. While looking forward to tomorrow, enjoy a fantastic day of grace today. He likes you a lot. Enjoy his favor.
Jesus leads us today.
Some may reason that we who are “saved by grace alone” have no more use for God’s commandments. They would reason that being “saved from the Law” means the Law has no place in our life any longer. They would be wrong! This is terrible assumption and conclusion.
For we who have been saved from the bondage and condemnation of God’s Law, we find his Gospel-Words and his Law-Words entirely good, holy, compelling, beneficial, compelling:
- God’s Law — Proclaims God’s character
- God’s Law — Proclaims God’s wise instruction and will for his image-bearers
- God’s Law — Promises blessings based upon perfect obedience
- God’s Law — Promises cursing based upon imperfect obedience (disobedience)
- God’s Law — Presents obligations for man to earn his own righteousness
- God’s Law — Perpetually shows man total depravity and sins
- God’s Law — Points away from itself to something else (Gospel)
- God’s Gospel — Proclaims God’s gifted-righteousness for sinful man
- God’s Gospel — Proclaims God’s self-execution for the condemnation of sinful man
- God’s Gospel – Promises all the blessings of perfect obedience because of Christ
And then …
- God’s Law — Still proclaims God’s character … whom we now love
- God’s Law — Still proclaims God’s wise instruction and will … which we now love
Therefore friends, how ought we to apply this devotional thought? It is easy. Hear the Father as he says, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.”
Today, hear his Law-Words. Hear what is best. Hear what is wise. Hear what he commands, and listen to what he says about obedience, disobedience, blessing, and condemnation. Hear well what he says and “be undone.” Go ahead and be struck with fear and dread.
Then, listen to his Gospel-Words. Listen to what he says about his life, death, and resurrection. Why did he come? For whom did he come? What is the free gift he offers? How can one declare spiritual bankruptcy and be enriched for eternity? Jesus knows God. Jesus knows heaven. Jesus knows hell. Jesus knows man. Jesus knows the way of salvation and the fantastic benefits that follow. What are you doing? Who are you listening to? This is God’s Son, listen to him.
Then, as you worship, listen again to his Law-Word. Go to his book and be impressed. Kneel in prayer, meditate, and sense the Spirit’s application. Find your seat under Gospel teachers and preachers. Be immersed in books from other gifted authors — they are gifts from God to his church. Find counsel in the plurality of elders; they are another way of being improved by your Savior. Oh friend, Jesus longs to point you in the right direction. Why would you go down the godless path? Why would you take matters into your own hands? Why would you pass on the guidance of the Wonderful Counselor to “walk in the counsel of the wicked, stand in the way of sinners, or sit in the seat of scoffers?” Why would you not “delight is his law and meditate on it day and night?” Jesus is the one who comes to you with grace and truth. He is the one who speaks with authority. He is the one who sent his Holy Spirit to inspire OT prophets and NT apostles to speak and write in his name. He lived for you. He died for you. He intercedes for you. He lives within you. He cares for you. He speaks regularly to you. What are you doing? Stop the insanity. Listen to him and enjoy even further love as he graces you by means of his Law and Gospel.