Peter – Mountaintop Experience



Have you ever been to summer camp or a fall retreat? You may have come back feeling like you had a “mountaintop experience”—not because there were mountains all around, but because your mind, your heart, or your spirit was lifted from the mundane to a new level of spiritual experience.

Peter sure could use a lift after Jesus had to set him back just days before. (See last week’s post, “Peter – One Step Back”)

Jesus is still determined to work with Peter, because He knows Peter’s potential. Isn’t that a comforting thought for when we feel down on ourselves? God knows your potential.

Jesus is going up the mountain, probably Mt. Hermon, to pray. He decides to take his inner circle with him—Peter, James, and John: Peter, who will eventually be the leader of the disciples after the resurrection, James, who will be the first to be martyred, and John who will endure to old age and will record the Revelation of Jesus.

Little do they know what is in store this day.

Once up the mountain, Jesus’ appearance is totally transformed or transfigured as the Bible says.

His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Matthew 17:2

(Years later, John will see this again in his vision of Jesus’ with his resurrected body.) 

As if that weren’t earth shaking enough…

Just then, there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. Matthew 12:3

Gasp! Our mouths would be hanging open with awe at this point. But our man, Peter, feels he must jump in to do something! Something to honor the lawgiver, prophet, and Messiah. He says,

“Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” Matthew 17:4

We can’t imagine this experience could be anymore mountaintop, but here it comes.

While Peter was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, 

“This is my son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” Matthew 17:5

Have you heard that before? At Jesus’ baptism? Yes, it is God himself! Peter is urged to listen, not talk.

They fall on their faces, terrified. Jesus comes and touches them.

“Get up,” he says. “Don’t be afraid.” When they look up, they see no one but Jesus.” Matthew 17:7

I wonder how often, in the next few years, they each thought about this scene. It certainly had to have made a lasting impression on them, a remembrance to hold in their minds, a sense of God’s physical presence with them.

Think back about your mountaintop memories, a time when God became very real to you. A time when he rescued you, encouraged you, brought you through a scary time, led you beyond belief, stirred in your heart. Remember, praise His name, and give thanks on this Thanksgiving Day!

~ Joyce ~  

Easter – Heart Warming Joy!

Searching His Word   Seeking His Heart

Searching His Word
Seeking His Heart

What? Are we still on Easter? I thought that was last Sunday. No, friends, the reality of the resurrection stays with us—always.

I could choose from many resurrection scenes: Mary Magdalene hearing Jesus call her name, the women at the tomb, Peter and John running to find the tomb empty, or Jesus’ appearance to the disciples in the upper room.

But my favorite scene is Jesus’ hidden appearance to the two on the road to Emmaus. So, we will leave Matthew’s point of view and turn to “the two.”

Cleopas and his traveling companion (maybe a wife or other relative) were on their way home from Jerusalem where they had been with the disciples and other followers of Jesus. These believers were frustrated, fearful for their own lives, disappointed, sorrowful, guilty—anything but joyful.

In this mood, the two began their seven-mile walk back to their home. Part way, they were joined by a stranger who didn’t seem to know what had been going on in Jerusalem, so they explained. Little did they realize that they were speaking with the resurrected Lord!

When Jesus heard them say,

“…we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel.” Luke 24:21

Jesus said to them, “How foolish you are and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken. Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” Luke 24:25

Jesus began a five-mile, Old Testament  teaching session to help them put everything together so they could see how fulfillment had indeed come through Him.

When they arrived at their home, they urged Him to stay with them. Their eyes were opened when Jesus began to break and bless the bread. Was it the way He did it? Did they see the scars from the nails? Was there something about His eyes or His tone that suddenly made Him recognizable? We don’t know. We are just told that they recognized Him and then he simply disappeared.

May I add what I imagine they said next?

“Did you see what I saw?”

“Yes, can you believe it was the Lord Himself?”

They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” Luke 24:32

They were too excited to wait until morning to share this great news. They headed right back to Jerusalem to tell the disciples.

My question to you is, when has the Lord opened your eyes with His Scripture and revealed Himself in such a powerful way that you could say, “Didn’t my heart burn within me?”

Did your heart burn within you this past resurrection morning while you listened to the music or sang His praises or took in the message or contemplated once again the redemptive work of the cross and the power of His resurrection which paves the way for your own resurrection into His divine presence?

Next week, I will share personal experiences when “my heart burned within me.”

~ Joyce ~