28 About eight days after this conversation, he took along Peter, John, and James and went up on the mountain to pray. 29 As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. 30 Suddenly, two men were talking with him—Moses and Elijah. 31 They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish in Jerusalem. 32 Peter and those with him were in a deep sleep, and when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men who were standing with him. 33 As the two men were departing from him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it’s good for us to be here. Let us set up three shelters: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah”—not knowing what he was saying. 34 While he was saying this, a cloud appeared and overshadowed them. They became afraid as they entered the cloud. 35 Then a voice came from the cloud, saying: “This is my Son, the Chosen One; listen to him!” 36 After the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. They kept silent, and at that time told no one what they had seen.
Have you ever had to face doing something very hard? Who encouraged you to persevere? Who confirmed that this was the right thing to do? How did this strengthen you so you could do what was being asked of you?
In this story, Jesus is heading toward Jerusalem, where He will be crucified. He knows this is His assignment. He’s always known it. But the Bible tells us that Jesus was tempted in every way as we are, so He can sympathize with us. We can be pretty sure Jesus had second thoughts as His suffering drew near. We know that in Gethsemane He asked God for “any other way.” He struggled so hard in that prayer that He sweat drops of blood, and God sent an angel to strengthen Him so He could continue.
Here on this mountain, God sent Moses and Elijah to encourage and strengthen Jesus. If He was tempted to become a political king instead of the suffering servant— or if He wanted to delay His death—Moses and Elijah could confirm His role in God’s plan. They could give Him heavenly perspective. Even Jesus, in human form, could lose His perspective.
And so can we. Take, for example, the disciples. In the weeks before this, Jesus had talked more often about His assignment ahead. He’d explained that He would suffer and die and that those who followed Him would also suffer. They didn’t want to hear this; they didn’t understand it. At one point, Peter blurted out “No! This will never happen to you!” Jesus rebuked Peter: “Get behind me, Satan! You don’t have in mind the things of God!” (Matthew 16:21-28). Peter had human things in mind, things like comfort and happiness.
And in this moment, Peter doesn’t want to move off this mountaintop. “This is so good!” he says. “Let’s stay here and build some memorials.” It seems like a noble thing to do, a religious thing to do. But the Father Himself corrects Peter’s perspective this time: “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him!” Even when He talks of suffering.
When we follow Jesus, there will be hard moments from which we can’t turn back, assignments God gives us, or suffering that life hands us. Where do we get heavenly perspective? How do we get encouragement to persevere?
In these moments, who do you listen to?
Questions to Ask Yourself
- How do you hear from God in prayer?
- When making decisions, who can you trust in your life to point you toward God?
- Who prays with you and encourages you to be faithful to God?
Pray that God will strengthen people in our church family that He is leading toward full time cross-cultural missions. Pray for courage and joy in their lives to answer and a willingness to sacrifice in order to obey.