[Matthew 17:1-13, Mark 9:2-13, Luke 9:28-36]
Chronologically in the Bible, before the Transfiguration, we read that Peter recognizes Jesus as “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16b NIV). After Peter’s identification of Jesus as the Christ, we read about the prophecy of the church – the well-known statement, “you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church.” Following this prophecy, Jesus speaks to the disciples about the crucifixion and resurrection. Then Jesus, with the Three, headed up to a high mountain.
The Three were Peter, James, and John. They were the first to hear the call of Jesus (Mark 1:16-19). They were present during the healing of the daughter of Jairus, though the others were excluded (Luke 8:51). The Three were invited to come along with Jesus when He went to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane. (Matthew 26:30-46, Mark 14:26-42, Luke 22:39-46).
High mountains are associated with closeness to God and a readiness to receive His Word. We do not know the exact mountain where the Transfiguration occurred; however, many scholars believe it might have been Mount Hermon. We read about God directing Moses to go up a mountain (Mount Sinai) for Him to give Him the Law (Exodus 24:12-18). We read about Elijah going to Mount Horeb where He encounters the presence of God (1 Kings 19:8-18).
God’s voice echoes the same words on the mountain as spoken during the baptism of Jesus. “This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17 NIV). “This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased. Listen to Him!” (Matthew 17:5 NIV).
1) What is Peter’s focus when Moses and Elijah join Jesus?
2) When we see the glory of God, what should be our response?
3) What do Moses and Elijah represent?
4) Is John the Baptist Elijah?
5) Why did Jesus tell the disciples not to tell anyone about what they saw?
Exiting the Cave Basic Review of 1 Kings 17-18 Main Passage 1 Kings 19
- There’s a great and strong wind.
- There’s an
- There’s a fire.
- There is the sound of a low whisper – a still small voice.
How do you recognize God’s presence? Desire the Presence of God “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” – James 4:8 [ESV] “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and He with Me.” – Revelation 3:20 [ESV] Desire to Know God To recognize God, you should know Who He is “For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” – Hosea 6:6 [ESV] God wants you to know Him and to love Him – that’s a RELATIONSHIP Desire Leads to Readiness “Be still, and know that I am God.” – Psalm 46:10a [ESV] You cannot predict how God will be present from past experiences. Each moment is we should be ready for Him with great expectation but not by placing Him in some prepackaged box. If you box Him in, you’ll miss Him. Desire More of Him & Less of You “Why climb the mountains or go down into the valleys of the world looking for Him Who dwells within us?” – Augustine If you believe in Jesus Christ and are baptized and receive the Holy Spirit it means that God dwells within. That means the Spirit of God dwells within you. You don’t have to ask for the Holy Spirit once you have obtained – you simply ask “More of You, less of me.” Each day. Every day. Listen. The Holy Spirit will help you, comfort you, remind you, teach you, empower you, assure you, strengthen you….
Elijah came on the scene with no introduction and announced the Word of God. He told the people there would be no rain, upholding what was said in Deuteronomy 28:24 for those in disobedience. Ravens brought him food and when the brook dried up, he went to the widow of Zarephath and God provided.
Elijah then had a showdown with the prophets of Baal. As Elijah watched, the prophets could not get Baal to produce fire. Elijah poured 12 jars of water in a trench and God produced fire that drank up all of the water and burned the surrounding stones. It was an amazing display of God’s power, but then Elijah ran in fear and hid himself in a cave.
God approached Elijah and asked him – What are you doing here? There was incredible wind, an earthquake and fire but God was not in any of them. Then came a gentle whisper. Elijah was reminded of God’s greatness. There are moments when we need to be reminded of God’s greatness – when fear and doubt creep in and try to discourage us. Today, ask yourself how great is our God? How great is our God! Step out of the cave.
“When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’” – 1 Kings 19:13 [NIV]
I have been so busy with this semester’s coursework that my writing has been very scarce lately. More recently I have be plagued with a cold which has taken its wrath upon my ear. I went to the doctor only to find out that I had a very bad ear infection, and I was given antibiotics to aid in the healing process. As I opened the bottle and peered at the pills inside, I started to remember a time I’d like to forget.
Some people take pills daily for whatever health reasons or simply to fulfill a vitamin regimen. Most people have no problems taking pills; however, I am not most people. I can remember a day when ibuprofen and I didn’t get along. It wasn’t so much the medicine that left a mark, but how the medicine was administered.
When my children were younger and unable to take a particular kind of medicine, I always went to the store to get the appropriate medicine in a form they could take best. Perhaps I took that extra time because of this image still stuck in my head, or possibly it was because I wanted to show some grace.
God is so very gracious with us. We are all sinners. Romans 3:23-24 states: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (NIV). The love He has for us is incredible, with no words great enough to describe how amazing. His grace is something we all receive, and we are all to share it with others.
There are many people who look at God as an angry God in the Old Testament. People will page through the books and read the story of Sodom and Gomorrah and not see His love. But if we look solely at the story and don’t grasp the full picture, we miss God’s grace and we miss seeing the love that has been there since the very beginning. 1 John 4 tells us that “God is love.” When reading the Bible front to back cover, it can be seen that God is love. God is faithful. God is just. And God is so very gracious with all of us.
I know some people who believe God will just toss a lightning bolt down to remedy a situation without seeking another solution. What these people do not understand is that from the very beginning, God has been moving and working in our lives for us. He is not against us and not looking for any of us to fall, to hurt, or to not be with Him. And He is not so forceful, administering what He wants without grace. At times He is so gentle, that He is like the wind gently blowing by. If you read about Elijah’s encounter with the prophets of Baal, you will note that God’s glory was shown. It was a great victory. When Elijah was on Mount Carmel he believed that God would be faithful and God answered with fire. Yet after that event, Elijah ran away and hid. He got fearful and let his fear get the best of him. In 1 Kings 19, God did not go after Elijah and pour His wrath upon him for not continuing his mission. He was “a sound of gentle blowing.”
God comes to us again and again with His loving arms wide open. He meets us wherever we are and asks us if we are ready to come back to Him. He is not forceful. He gives us an invitation, not an order. We have the free will to make the decision. As John 3:16 states, “whoever believes in Him will not perish.” It doesn’t say all will believe. He put out the invitation and He simply wants us to respond. He would love if we all checked yes, but He will never force us in the matter.
“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.” – Isaiah 49:15-16 [NIV]