Have you ever had a mountain top experience? The kind of experience that you wish could last forever. I have had a few of those moments in my life and they are moments that are etched into my brain that I will never forget. I remember them so clearly that I could take you through every detail without missing a beat. It is for this very reason that I can understand the the transfiguration story with Jesus and three disciples; Peter, James and John.

In our study of the Gospel of Mark we have arrived at the mount of Transfiguration. Last week Jesus announces that he must suffer and die. He then takes Peter, James, and John up on a mountain and they see all of his glory. Not a reflection of his Glory like the people saw on the face of Moses in the Old Testament, but the very presence and glory of God. They also were able to see Moses and Elijah back from the dead. They heard the voice of the Father as he was also present there on the mountain. The disciples are caught in fear or amazement, probably a little bit of both. Peter is one of those types of guys that speaks when he doesn’t know what to say. He says to Jesus it is good for us to be here, let me set up camp and build shelter for everyone. Peter doesn’t want this moment to ever end and wants to live up on that mountain.

But Jesus knows they can’t stay on the mountain because there is a job that he needs to accomplish. Jesus knows that his disciples will need this event as they will soon see him beaten, battered and crucified. This event will serve to strengthen them for those upcoming events.

The interesting part of this is that Peter already confessed Jesus to be the Christ. He didn’t need the transfiguration to know in his heart that Jesus was the messiah. Or did he? Here is an explanation from the book “King’s Cross” by Tim Keller. Keller says “The answer for us, as it was for the disciples, is worship. You must have access through worship to the very presence of God. You have to see clearly in your mind what God has done and is doing through Jesus. You have to experience foretastes of that embrace God is going to give you someday. You need to actually sense what you know of God’s love. It’s one thing to be told that somebody is remarkably attractive. You believe it, but when you actually see him or her up close, you say, “Oh, wow.” What happened? Did you get new information? No—you’re experiencing what you already knew to be true.”

Peter didn’t learn anything new that day on the mountain top. He knew Jesus was the messiah. But what it did do for him was, he experienced what he knew to be true. The same is true for us today. We can know God is real but if we never are at worship, hearing the Word proclaimed, taking the sacrament, we get farther and farther away from who we know him to be and who we have experienced him to be.

A point to drive this home… A friend tells you that they went to this awesome restaurant and you really have to go check it out. You can just believe that it is awesome or you are going to go and check it out for yourself. You finally get to go eat there and you taste and see for yourself that the food is awesome. So everyone knows the food is awesome, but you decide not to go back to the restaurant for six months, will you still be telling everyone how awesome the food is? If it was so awesome why haven’t you gone back? The experience and the confession are now far apart.

The mountain top is place of experience, not a new experience but one that reinforces what we already know to be true. We can taste and see that the Lord is good every week in worship which will then sustain us through our own trials that we face.

What has been some mountain top experiences that you have had? Did they prove to reinforce something you already knew to be true? How can we continue to have mountain top experiences while living in the valley?

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