I’d already written last week’s blog, already had processed and determined to de-clutter my mouth with a little spring cleaning, when I sat down in my favorite chair, Bible in my lap, journal open. I was ready to hear from the Lord. Well, in all honesty, I was ready to move on and be introduced to a new topic. The topic I’d just unpacked had left a little sore spot in my heart. Yes, my pride was bruised a bit. However, it seemed the Lord wasn’t quite finished with me yet, and determined not to beat around the bush in taking the matter a step further.
As, I turned to the first few verses of Matthew 17, I was immediately caught up in the scene, and imagining the scenario: a handful of disciples, Jesus, Moses & Elijah. The story we commonly call The Transfiguration. It’s an important story as we journey through Lent toward the cross and the resurrection. By now, the disciples know Jesus is certainly the Messiah – his miracles attested to that fact, and Peter’s declaration had not been denied. It was undeniable that Jesus was preparing them for his imminent death. He’d been talking about it, but the men just couldn’t quite wrap their minds around it. Then Jesus takes them to a mountain, where his whole being transformed in front of them, and he fully engaged in a conversation with Moses and Elijah.
In my mind, I’m thinking, what an honor to be present for such an occasion! Yet one more affirmation of WHO Jesus really was. I’m thinking to myself, yes, honored, but more, humbled…and speechless! I’m thinking that at that moment, I’d have been OK with an awkward silence (maybe for the first time in my life). I’m thinking it would have been difficult to stand in the presence of such greatness! I’m seeing myself on my face in the dirt.
BUT NOT PETER! For some reason, Peter filled the moment with his classic impulsivity. I’m sure it was well-meaning, “Let’s build three churches right here: The Church of Moses, The Church of Elijah, The Church of Jesus, Messiah!” Now, I’m wondering, would that have been me? What would I have done…………really? My typical pattern is to let nervousness speak up. Like Peter, when I allow my un-comfortableness room to talk, it pretty much doesn’t make sense either. I ramble, too. I could have easily said something equally as clumsy. Even in the midst of greatness, I would have probably not had the sense to be silent. That was a sad indictment. Sad, but true.
As I read on, I found myself laughing, because where could Peter go next? With that suggestion, he’d put himself out on a limb… Ah, but from heaven, God-the-Father saved the day, and rescued Peter (in other words, the Heavenly Father interrupted him before he could hang himself on said limb)! “Yes, this is my Son; I love Him greatly! I am well pleased with Him. Stop talking (implied), and listen to Him!” (Internally, I think God-the-Father is chuckling as He says this. After all, He created those of us like Peter, so we don't surprise Him...)
The question (and multiple suggestions) has bounced around since that moment, “Why The Transfiguration?” Was this for Jesus sake? Did Moses and Elijah come to encourage him as he marched solemnly toward Calvary? Did they come to bring words of love, affirmation, and assurance from heaven? Was it for the disciples? Was it meant to be a mile marker of hope to be remembered during the upcoming events of the Easter season? My answer is to shrug my shoulders.
I do think this: In the big picture amidst everything else, what should be remembered are the Father’s words. There are, simply, times to stop talking, in order to listen to the voice of the One Who Matters. He is deserving of our ear…and our focused silence. Even in my so-called quiet times, I am busy talking, building churches (metaphorically), or trying to put words in God's mouth for Him. Oh, may I learn to stop talking so that I can just hear Him! He is the Father's beloved son, well-pleasing, why would I want to hear my voice instead of His?