Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Jesus Alone

A fascinating passage of Scripture to me is the story of the Transfiguration found in Mark 9. There seems to be a lack of moments in the Gospels where the disciples truly understood who Jesus was and what He had come to do. They always seemed to say the wrong thing or fail in their response to situations. We all know how Peter failed to walk on water or how he denied Christ in His hour of need. And he was just one of the twelve. That these men went on to do extraordinary things for the kingdom of God should give each of us hope.

Back to the story, Mark 9:2-8 reads:

"After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus.

Peter said to Jesus, "Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. 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.) Then a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and a voice came from the cloud: "This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!"

Suddenly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus."

Just like we tend to do, the disciples got it wrong. Peter asked that three shelters be built. Growing up as a Jewish boy, I'm sure he was star struck when he saw Elijah and Moses. I doubt he considered them to be exalted above Christ. He just couldn't believe his eyes. But then came a consuming cloud and a voice that said, "This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!" And then the cloud dissipated because the Bible says when they "looked around" all they could see was Jesus alone.

There's a lesson to be learned here that pertains to worship. With the best of intentions we can focus on things other than Jesus in our times of worship. Things that exist to point to Christ. Maybe your Elijah is a favorite song. "Oh my goodness, we're singing Song X today. I just love this song!" Or maybe your Moses is a person. "I love it when Worship Leader X leads the music." It's not that these things are bad, but they're ordained to lead you to worship Christ. And if you're like me (or Peter) perhaps you focus too easily on the wrong thing.

We should seek Christ in such a way that we are consumed by the cloud of God's glory. We should strain to hear God's voice and listen to what He has to say to us. We should fall to ours knees in gratitude of the grace we have been given. Then after we have focused our mind's attention and our heart's affection on the Lord allowing everything else to fade away, that's when we will look up and see Jesus alone.


Anonymous said...

Grace -- the thought of it is mind boggling, yet I am ever so humbled, grateful and in awe when I think about how much grace God has given me.

Thank you for your thoughts and your continued reminder and encouragement to focus our lives on Jesus - in all things.

When we see Jesus alone - Praise and Worship come from the overflow of our hearts and minds.