Tuesday, March 9, 2010

up the hill with Jesus

The Word for today:
Matthew 16:21-17:13

If you want to see a picture of Jesus as he is today--Jesus in glory--here it is:
And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him... when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him." (Matthew 17:1-3, 5)

Neat, huh? There's Jesus! There's Moses and Elijah! Then we hear the voice of God, telling us to "Listen to him"--to Jesus.

Because while Moses and Elijah represent the Law and the Prophets, Jesus is the fulfillment:
"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.

Way cool! (That's just what Peter thought, so he wanted to put up some tents and stay there!)--
"Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah." (Matthew 17:4)

But let's not just read about it. Let's go up the Mount of Transfiguration ourselves.

When the people of Israel traveled to Jerusalem for the feast days, they sang their way up the mountainside approaches to the city. The songs they sang are preserved for us in Psalms 120 to 134. The NIV Bible labels these "Songs of Ascent." The KJV Bible calls them "Songs of Degrees."

By degrees--not all at once--you are ascending your very own Mount of Transfiguration. Step by step, we are going up the "hill" with Jesus. That's the plan:

His death is ours; his resurrection is ours:
For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.  (Romans 6:5)

We are being transformed:
For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (Romans 8:29)

Even his transfiguration is ours:
Those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. (Romans 8:30)

In fact, we are going to end up being just like Jesus!--
Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. (1 John 3:2)

But until then, don't rush things. Remember, it's one step at a time. Along the way, the important thing to do is what God said: "Listen to him."

He knows the way to the top.  He's the only one who's been there before.

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