One night when I was about 11 years old, my father went out to put the bins out before he went top bed. He is taking the old battered aluminium rubbish bins and putting them out by the front gate. As he is doing this he sees a ghostly figure emerge from the darkness, on the street, he’s startled as the figure approaches him only to realize that it is me, dressed in my long nighty. He had no idea how long I had been out there. In my sleep I must have unlocked the back door and gone out our back gate, I was fast asleep and had no idea where I was, or what I was doing! Dad brought me inside and put me back to bed…
When you are asleep or not fully awake, you don’t see things as they really are, you don’t know where you are and don’t know what you are saying or doing!
About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray…
Peter, James, and John had been personally invited to a prayer meeting with Jesus. What a privilege! They had all climbed the same mountain, but when they got to the top, they weren’t all in the same state of mind.
There is an invitation from Jesus to you and I to come up higher, to leave the valley and the plains and begin to climb with Him. He wants to show us things that we have never seen before, he wants to change our perspective, broaden our horizons And help US see further than we can right now.
I remember climbing mountains with my Dad when I was younger. It’s easy to feel weary climbing.
After a while its just one foot after another, you become numb, your legs ache, your mouth is dry, the rhythm of step after step, becomes a stuporous monotony, lulling you into a state of sleepwalking; you are awake but your senses are dulled.
Life can get like that, the busyness, the obstacles you face and the length of the fight can all lull you into a mind numbing daze.
32 Peter and his companions were very sleepy,
βαρέω bareō; from 926; to weigh down:—burdened(3), heavy(1), overcome(1), weighted down(1).
It says that Peter and his companions were weighed down, burdened, overcome, heavy with sleep.
Every mountain is an opportunity to get discouraged, tired, weary, overcome OR an opportunity to have a new revelation about who Jesus is and the power accessible to us through Him.
When we give in to the heaviness we become dull to our surroundings! I grew up in Whyalla I don’t know what it’s like now, but back then it was a very rough city, it was certainly not safe for a young girl to be wandering outside; but because I was heavy with sleep I had no idea what I was doing or the danger I was in.
29 As he (Jesus) was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. 30 Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. 31 They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem.
Because they were heavy with sleep they failed to see or understand what was happening. Ever come into a service, a conference, half asleep, weary from the climb in life, tired, dull in your spirit? I know you have, because I’m the pastor and it happens to me!!! And sometimes it’s not until the 3rd song when suddenly I become FULLY AWAKE but when they became FULLY AWAKE, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him.
Sometimes all it takes is for transformation to be happening around you to make you fully awake.
Jesus was fully awake even though he had climbed the same mountain, why? The key is in verse 31.
The cross and its purpose kept Jesus fully awake!
When life gets tiring and we start to feel like it’s a burden, when what we are doing seems monotonous, even unremarkable, when its easier to stay in our comfort zone rather than climb higher, the thing that will snap us out of our stuporous routines is the focus of the cross.
The purpose of the cross stopped me withdrawing from life under the covers when we moved to Atlanta, the purpose of the cross stopped me going mad when I had 15 people living in my house, the purpose of the cross stopped me putting walls up when people didn’t want to move forward or leave the comfort of their religion for relationship with God.
The purpose of the cross was to make Jesus accessible to every person
The purpose of the transfiguration was to encourage Jesus and remind Him of that purpose.
33 As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, “Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what he was saying.)
Peter is compelled to DO something in response to what He has witnessed. I know Peter gets a bad rap for this but honestly…..its better than doing or saying NOTHING.
He’s got the right idea, we need to be able to revisit this place, but the wrong execution. You see, our natural response when we encounter Jesus is to build a man made structure for Him to be housed in. Jesus this is awesome, can I fit you into this booth, this part of my life, this area? Jesus is up on the mountain discussing how He can get himself into man’s hearts, and Peter’s response is to fit him into a structure he has made.
Instead of visiting past experiences Jesus wants us to understand that He wants us to take Him with us into the future.
Luke, Matthew and Mark all report on the transfiguration. Luke said they went up to the mountain and came down a hill.
Matthew and Mark say they went up a high mountain and came down the mountain.
I’m no theologian but I do want to make the point that after a revelation of Jesus, once you become fully awake, the high mountain that made you weighed down:—burdened(3), heavy(1), overcome, weary and tired, becomes just an ordinary mountain on the way down!
And when you leave that place you are refueled and refilled, wide-awake. You see you need to understand the context of this story. About a week before this Jesus had sent out his disciples and given them power to cast out demons, heal the sick, and they returned with amazing stories of what God had done through them. Then when Jesus comes down from the mountain of transfiguration, he finds the rest of his disciples at the bottom of the mountain trying to cast a demon out of the boy and they could not.
If you don’t realize it, there is a battle on for control of people’s hearts and lives, people that you love, your kids, your husbands, your friends, your neighbours and that the enemy is taking them and slamming them into the ground all around you and that you (Jesus in you) are their only hope!
We need to be fully awake to the challenges and the battles; we need to see what is going on in people’s hearts. The boy wasn’t manifesting ALL the time but his father knew that one day he could lose him forever.
Jesus speaks into the situation and says “Oh unbelieving generation, how long do I have to put up with you”. In just the space of a week the disciples can’t do something that earlier they had been able to do. Your up to date revelation of Jesus, the power you had a week ago isn’t going to last, you need the daily encounter with God, and the revelation of what Jesus has accomplished on the cross in order to take people that are controlled by the enemy and set them free.
He’s teaching them a lesson here: You can’t rely on yesterday‘s power to do what you need to do today.
Instead of visiting something to find Jesus we take him with us into every situation in life, he climbs with us, helps us face life, make sense of life, because when he is in us, it keeps the purpose of the cross alive in us. He couldn’t live in us if he didn’t go to the cross. We need to keep the cross in our focus, in every interaction we have, in every task we do, in every mundane routine thing of our lives, instead of allowing it us to make us stuporous, allow it to awaken us to possibility
Hebrews 12:1-3 (MSG)
Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!