Lord, it is good for us to be here Matthew 17.1-9 JUMC 03062011

Matthew 17.1-9

Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John 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 dazzling white. Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Get up and do not be afraid.” And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone. As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, “Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”

We were not on the mountain, but we are here in Jackson, GA, It is good for us to be here..

Peter, James and John: we can only speculate why it was only these three who go with Jesus up Mt Tabor to witness and experience Moses, Elijah and God’s blessing.

To have walked this trip would be a hilly, twenty eight mile hike. That distance is like walking from Jackson, GA to Conyers, GA. plus climbing up Stone Mountain at the the end of the walk. Why go on this outing? Why not take all twelve? Why these three?

Peter, probably one of the most wealthy people in the city of Capernum, must have had work and family responsibilities tugging at his attention. His home was located at the Sea, and was one of the largest homes in town. Jesus did well to go to Peter as a person of influence. But now that Peter had been traveling with Jesus, we might speculate that the demands of work and home were influencing his walk with Jesus.

Or it might have been Peter’s personality.. we see repeatedly that he responds to events quickly, but his follow through was questioned later in their relationship. Did Jesus know that Peter was more of a visual learner and needed to see things in a different way to get to his heart?

James and John, certainly had their father’s fishing business, on their minds. Only within the past few years have they discovered one boat dating back to the time of Jesus, uncovered because of the decade of drought in Galilee. This boat was constructed out of 14 different types of wood as trees were very rare in the area. To have owned a boat would have indicated the prosperity of James and John’s business. To have walked away from such a business would not have been easy and possibly something significant was needed to hold their attention.

Maybe it is far from remedial reasons. Possibly these three already had experience and skills that allowed them to comprehend and manage more than the others. The others might have been overwhelmed and only these three could hold the pieces together.

Again, all these are speculations. What we do know is that Peter, James and John are taken by Jesus to witness and experience a confirmation of Jesus’ authority and work. Jesus has a terrific meeting with Moses, the lawyer and Elijay the Marketing and Advertising department and they three disciples are witnesses of this meeting.

Peter’s commentary on the experience is that it is a good place to be. The experience was a once-in-a-lifetime, incredible moments to have witnessed. His second statement spoils the first.

He wants to build booths. Tributes, memorials, historical markers, trophies.. with name placards. Peter goes from being in the moment, an active participant, to a manager, a promoter, and a leader. His role is to be a follower, a participant, a witness..

It is good that we are here.  Right here, right now.

We were not on the mountain, but we are here in Jackson, GA, It is good for us to be here..

Transfiguration Sunday is the end of the season of Epiphany. A time of shifting our focus. Stopping the planning and reacting… to a change our journey.  If there is one thing I have learned so far from traveling 14 hours for 15 days and traveling 14 hours back home, is that as good as it was to be see first hand.. it is good to be right here, right now.

Not simple because it is home.

Not only because it is familiar or even safer.

It’s good to be here, because this is where Jesus is revealing himself, his word, and his work… through me and through you.

I would love for us to have a group go to share the holy places.. and there is a blessing in doing so.. but the reason we might go to see and be there..

is the difference it makes in being right here.

The lessons of the meeting on Mt Tavor/Tabor.. Jesus is the fulfillment of the law. Jesus is the promise of the prophets. Jesus is God with us. so listen and follow.

We don’t have to go up the mountain to learn these things, but through the witness of Peter, James and John we learn what to do.

Listen.

It is good to be here that we might hear what God is doing.

So what is God doing..

God is getting ready to journey with us.

Suffer with us. Live and die with us.

God is running ahead of us, winning the race for our team so that we know it is good to be here.

This is what I want you to think and say and share when you are at church, when you are at home, when you are at work, when you are at school.

“that you can’t wait to hear what God is doing next in your life and in our lives together…”

I can’t tell you all that it will be, any more than Peter, James and John could tell the other disciples…

but we know what they know.

that Jesus is with us here, and that is what makes it good to be together.

Look around at the people God has called together to do God work..

The teaching is so simple, we miss it for the light show and bells and whistles:

God says to disciples.. Listen to Jesus.

We listen in scripture.

We listen through prophets and teachers.

We listen through divine, spirit filled inspiring songs, lights and sights

We can listen or we can speak.

The command is not to go tell.. it is to listen.

Hear the word of the Lord and be blessed with assurance.

Amen.

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