Some people have simply stopped expecting. They have accumulated enough of life’s disappointments to become afraid to dream, to reach, to stretch, to broaden their horizons. But God wants to free us tomorrow; He won’t allow us to blame yesterday. Neither will He allow us to cast blame on anything or anybody who seems to restrict our tomorrows.
I have people who will ask, “Bill, how can you go on?” How can you not? Sure it has been disappointing and it hurts. But when I wake up in the morning, I say “thank you God for a wonderful day.” Because Vickie didn’t get well, doesn’t cause me to believe any less in miracles.
Setting in a prison cell in Rome, knowing his death was near, Paul writes, For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. In other words, the Christian cannot lose! If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far… Tomorrow, is set by Christ, only God knows.
Years ago a thunderstorm swept through Kentucky at New Castle where my forbearers have lived for generations. In the town, the wind blew over an old apple tree that had been there as long as anybody could remember. We all grieved to lose the tree on which I and many of my friends had climbed as a boy and whose fruit we had eaten all our lives. A neighbor came by and said, “I’m really sorry to see your tree blown down.” “I’m sorry too,” said my friend. “It was a real part of our past.” “What are you going to do?” the neighbor asked. My friend paused for a moment and then said, “I’m going to pick up the fruit and burn what’s left.” That is the wise way to deal with many things in our past. We need them to learn their lessons, enjoy their pleasures, and then go on with the present and the future.
About half way through the three years of Jesus’ ministry we find what we call the “transfiguration.” Jesus and the Disciples have been in the area of Caesarea Philippi. On the appointed day Herod, wearing his royal robes, sat on his throne and delivered a public address to the people. They shouted, “This is the voice of a god, not of a man.” Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died. It is important to know that because Peter’s great confession took place at Caesarea Philippi. “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Christ.” His ministry is beginning to take hold, they are understanding.
One week later, Jesus, along with Peter, James & John, go up on a high mountain. Probably, Mount Hermon. Hermon stands about 9,200 feet above sea level.
There he was transfigured before them. To be transfigured means to be changed or made over! Sometimes we want to look different, so we have a makeover. The wife comes home and the husband doesn’t even recognize her. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. We have to ask, “what change was made?” The Jesus that came down off of Mt. Hermon, appears to be the same Jesus that went upon the mountain. There appears to be no lasting change in Jesus’ appearance. There is no radical change in His style of ministry or the message that He is bringing. The purpose of the transfiguration appears to be “empowerment.”
There are two types of empowerment – one is for Jesus and the other is for the Disciples. And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Of the three gospels that the transfiguration is recorded in, only Luke tells of the conversation. LUK 9:31 They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem. Jesus needs encouragement. He is God, he knows all things, except the “day and the hour” of His return. He knows all about His death. This is how the divine is encouraged. Elijah and Moses lifting Him up and encouraging Him. Elijah didn’t die, but went to Heaven in a chariot. Moses dies, but his body was taken by Michael.
The second empowerment comes to the believers. We don’t know the future. We don’t know what we face tomorrow. And it is precisely for that reason that we must be encouraged. Peter, James and John would all be at the center of what was to take place in Jerusalem.
Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. All of us need to be strengthened at times in our lives. Here the disciples have heard Jesus talking about dying. It has been a difficult two years of ministry. “Teacher, it is good for us to be here, we need it.”
Let us put up three shelters – one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.) I would be frightened too. The two most important people in Israel’s history are here. The question that is raised is, “how do they know it is Moses and Elijah? The divine mystery of God – that sustains all believers!
Then a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!” The cloud is the presence of God – the same God who’s glory so filled the Temple that it was like a cloud. The cloud was the presence of God as the children of Israel wondered in the desert for 40 years. The same cloud that covered the top of Mt. Sinai. And then God speaks, “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!” These are the same words that the believers hear at Jesus’ baptism. Here is God! God is present!
Suddenly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus. Was it real? It lasted only a few minutes but it was heaven. They tasted heaven and it uplifted them.
Don’t ever stop expecting! Do not stop dreaming, or stop reaching, or stop stretching, continue to broaden your horizons.