I have been slowly working my way through the life of Jesus in my chronological Bible and was reading about the transfiguration recently. There are minor differences between the accounts of Matthew, Mark and Luke. Matthew and Mark refer to Peter, James and John being terrified. Luke says they fell asleep while Jesus was praying and woke up just as Elijah and Moses were leaving. All three gospels agree on Peter’s verbal reaction to events on the mountain: Peter said something stupid.
I can’t imagine what it must have been like to see Jesus transfigured; His face transformed and His clothes dazzling white. Seeing two dead men walking around chatting with Jesus would have freaked me out. While a suitable reaction to such an experience would probably be to become completely speechless, I think I would more than certainly have followed Peter’s lead and said something ridiculously stupid.
The thing that challenges me most about the transfiguration is the question of how often I/we have experiences of Jesus that are so overwhelming that we are either left speechless like James and John, or prompted like Peter to say something really stupid? At Spring Harvest this year we were constantly reminded that we should be expecting to see, do, receive immeasurably more than the disciples. But for some reason we don’t expect, we don’t see, and we don’t do. One quote I wrote down at Spring Harvest was: “We need to remember what we have seen God do in the past so that we are filled with expectancy not disappointment.” That raises the question of being disappointed with God rather than expectant. That is about as stupid as some of the things Peter said.
“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” (John 14:12-14 NLT)