“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. And Peter said to Jesus, ‘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.’ He was still speaking 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.’ When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were terrified. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, ‘Rise, and have no fear.’ And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.” – Matthew 17:1-8 (ESV)
Busy busy busy… so much to do, so little time… if only there were two of me… Sometimes we get so busy, so focused on the task at hand, that we lose sight of the bigger picture. For those of us who are task oriented people, it can be very easy to slip into “gotta get it done mode,” forgetting the importance of why.
The scene at the Transfiguration of Jesus is hard to picture. Try to imagine it, if you can. Before the eyes of Peter, James and John, Jesus was transformed (the Greek word for “transfiguration,” μεταμορφόω, is where we get our word “metamorphosis”). They saw Him as God Incarnate, a foretelling of the Risen Christ to come, His face radiant in majesty and glory! Not only that, Jesus was talking with Moses and Elijah, who had been dead for thousands of years. (There is much significance in this, but in the interest of brevity, we’ll discuss that another time.)
What would your initial reaction be to such a scene? Would you be stunned in disbelief? Would you not believe your eyes? Peter had faith. He has professed to Jesus that he knows Christ is the Son of the Living God (Matthew 16:16). Indeed, Peter had great faith. So much so that His initial reaction was a great desire to serve – which is wonderful. (Don’t misunderstand what I am about to say. More of us should be so quick to leap to service!) “Let me make tents for you guys to stay in!” Hindsight being 20/20, it is easy to look at this episode and see that Peter missed the true significance of what he was witnessing. But part of the reason Peter missed it was his mindset.
The lesson to be gleaned here is one of having the right heart behind service. Now, again, I am not here to accuse Peter of anything the rest of us aren’t guilty of. To implicate Peter of anything would be hypocritical. But I believe one of Peter’s problems was the same one Martha had.
Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me." But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her." – Luke 10:38-42 (ESV)
Martha was so busy doing her thing to please Jesus that she missed the importance of simply being in God’s presence, soaking in His teaching, worshipping and focusing on God. Martha and Peter had the best of intentions. But what God desires most out of us is not busyness just for the sake of being busy for God. We need first to have our hearts right, and means being focused on Jesus Christ above all else.
Notice the reaction of Peter, James and John when God spoke in Matthew 17:5-8. They fell on their faces in terrified awe. They realized Who they were standing before. Verse 5 basically tells us that God shut Peter up and got his attention. Their focus was definitely focused squarely on God at this point. And when Jesus told them to “rise and have no fear,” what did they see? “No one but Jesus alone.” Notice the emphasis: Jesus and Jesus only. It is when we see Christ and Him alone that we are ready to be equipped. It is far more important to understand “why” we do what we do than to just look for “what.”
The stress of the busyness of the world melts away when we take the time to sit at the feet of Jesus. Take time today to worship Him, in prayer, in song, in study… whatever works best for you. Prepare your heart first. He will lead your hands and feet.