There’s another cloud worth connecting to, and we see it at the Mount of Transfiguration.
IT’S WORTH CONSIDERING
Have you ever wondered what the “transfiguration” as described in Matthew
17:1-8, Mark 9:2-8, & Luke 9:28-36 was really all about? I certainly have. I’ve heard it mentioned in sermons, but never in a way that really satisfied my spiritual curiosity, so I did some digging. By studying all three accounts of this as well as the preceding verses, I discovered that it was probably near sunset and Jesus was praying. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to surmise what Jesus was praying about. He was on his way to the cross. He had just asked his disciples if any of them knew who he really was. Peter had given the right answer. Now he had one remaining question to be answered. It’s the question I would be asking of the Father. Is the cross really necessary? Is this really your perfect will? Is there no other way? Thus far, Jesus had done nothing apart from following the Father’s directions or actions. He wasn’t about to deviate from that now, but He had to be sure that he was on the right path.
So, there they are, Peter, James, John, and Jesus, high up on the slopes of a mountain, most likely Mt. Hermon. We’re not sure what the three disciples were doing, but Jesus is praying. All of a sudden, Moses and Elijah appear. Glory surrounds them, Jesus’ face shines like the sun, and His clothing has become whiter than any white the three had ever seen. Certainly something wonderful was happening, but what?
So, imagine Jesus agonizing in prayer over what awaited him and needing confirmation that he was on the right path. Suddenly, the great law-giver and the greatest of the prophets appear and visibly recognize Jesus as the one they had anticipated and foretold. Isn’t it likely that their appearance was a direct answer to Jesus’ prayer, confirming to Jesus that he was on the correct path? Perhaps that is exactly what they were discussing. Then, as a final confirmation, God speaks audibly, telling the three disciples to listen to Jesus.
Then, to make the story even more mysterious, a cloud envelops them all. To a Jew, an enveloping cloud stood for nothing less than the shekinah glory of Almighty God. (Shekinah is a transliteration of a Hebrew word meaning “the one who dwells” or “that which dwells.” It is alluded to but not actually found in the Old or New Testaments.) The pillar of cloud had led the Israelites through the wilderness to the Promised Land. The cloud had covered the tent of meeting as the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. A cloud had filled the Temple as Solomon was dedicating it to God. Now the cloud was giving evidence that the shekinah glory of Almighty God was present. What powerful confirmation that the way of the cross was, indeed, the way to glory for Jesus.
AS I SEE IT
I’m trying to imagine what it was like for the three disciples. With their Jewish backgrounds, they understood more than we could possible grasp. Yet, they were still struggling with Jesus’ insistence that he must go to Jerusalem to suffer and die. They saw pain, humiliation, and shame ahead, yet here, high on the mountain where they could see the big picture, they were given a glimpse of glory. God was showing them that glory was surrounding His Son as he set out for the cross. It was also a preview of the glory that awaited Jesus…and them.
It was a reminder that the end of Jesus’ earthly journey would ultimately end in glory. It also meant that someday when their faith in the Son of God would cost them dearly, they must remember that the pain they would experience is not the end. It would ultimately give way to joy beyond measure and unimaginable glory.
These days, we’re being told to get connected to the cloud so we can access and store more data, and in general, communicate and perform better. The events on what has been called the Mount of Transfiguration should introduce us to a different cloud-a cloud that promises unimaginable glory…if we remain, like Jesus, in the center of God’s will, regardless of the temporary cost. It is a cloud that draws us to it, offering 24/7 service, no dropped calls, unlimited access to heaven’s unlimited resources and direct access to the very heart of God. Are you connected to this cloud? If not, why not?
And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you (1 Peter 5:10).
ON THE LIGHTER SIDE
Police were called to a day care Center where a three-year-old was resisting a rest.