Have you ever had a vision of Jesus?
Peter did. So did James and John.
Check it out in today’s reading: Matthew 17.
Jesus led the three of them up a high mountain by themselves. “And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light” (17:2, ESV).
But it got better. “And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him” (17:3).
How do you think you’d respond to something like that?
Check out Peter’s response: “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah” (17:4). There’s no doubt that what Peter was seeing was awesome, so awesome that he wanted it to last. Here was Jesus, the Christ (16:16), in his glory! With Moses and Elijah! Why wouldn’t he want to stay there with them on the mountain?
But this wasn’t necessarily God’s intent for them. While Peter was still speaking God spoke from a cloud, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him” (17:5). Peter would have done better to listen rather than offer his own opinion. Here was Jesus, talking to Moses and Elijah. What were they talking about? I have no idea. But maybe if Peter would have kept his mouth shut the disciples would have heard it and written it down!
Sometimes in our excitement at being in God’s presence we speak too soon. We want what is happening to last–it’s good! But it’s not about us. It’s about what God is trying to tell us. We, with Peter, should follow the advise of the proverb, “Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise” (Proverbs 17:28).
Ultimately, our response should be similar to that of the disciples, who, upon hearing the voice of God “fell on their faces and were terrified” (Matt. 17:6). Christ’s glory is infinitely great and we are infinitely unworthy to be in his presence. When we recognize that, it should cause us to fall in reverent awe before him, overcome by infinite gratitude of his grace toward us.
His grace is evident in Jesus’ words to his disciples. “Rise, and have no fear” (17:7). It is Christ who causes us to stand before God, not in our own worth, but in his righteousness.
When you experience a vision of Jesus, listen.
Listen with awe. Listen with gratitude.
And be changed.