Going Places with God: On the Mountain
by Derek Gentle

Believers know the experience of the mountain. We have all been there. It may have been a mission trip or a series of revival services or a youth camp. Yet anyone who has walked with God for any time has been to the mountain. As we look back on such experiences in the past and as we anticipate such experiences in the future, here are some biblical principles from Luke 9:28-42 which help us understand what God is up to on the mountain.

1. You'll Get to the Mountain Only When Jesus Takes You There
Now it came to pass, about eight days after these sayings, that He took Peter, John, and James and went up on the mountain to pray. Vs. 28

One can't manufacture the mountain top. It's not something we can schedule. We can put revival services on the calendar, but revival comes from God. The only time you'll get to the mountain is when Jesus takes you there... in His timing.

2. When You Get to the Mountain, You'll See Jesus Like You Never Saw Him Before
"As He prayed, the appearance of His face was altered, and His robe became white and glistening." Vs. 29

Jesus came to earth with His glory veiled, but now, for a brief moment the veil is pulled back. The word in Matthew is transfigured and is the word where we get metamorphosis. It describes the outward appearing of an inner reality. In the will of the Father, the real Jesus was shining forth in radiant glory. Peter, John, and James are seeing Jesus in a way like they have never seen Him before. That is what happens to us on the mountain. The veil is pulled back and we get an insight into the Person of Christ like we have never had before.

3. When You are on the Mountain God will Ready You for Your Mission
"And behold, two men talked with Him, who were Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of His decease which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem" Vs. 30-31

Jesus was six months from the cross. In His humanity He would need encouragement and confirmation for the task. He is on track. But, as a man, He has emotions. He, as man, is being readied for His mission. Notice this phrase: "His decease which He was about to accomplish." Not many would speak of their death as an accomplishment. Yet, that was Christ's mission to accomplish... to go to the cross as the sacrifice for the sins of the world. So to prepare Him for the task the Father sends Moses and Elijah. Moses, the man of the Law. Elijah, from among the prophets. Moses had died without entering the promised land, now stands on the terra firma of the land of promise. Wiersbe points out that it could be the greatest Bible conference ever. When God takes us to the mountain He is preparing us for our mission also. Some of the ways this may happen is in:

Visualization - That is, we get a picture of what it is God wants us to do.

Clarification - It has been said that the Lord can strike a mighty blow with a crooked stick, but sometimes God will straighten out the stick to strike an even mightier blow. We can have a general idea of the ministry God has given us, a little clarification is in order.

Preparation - Sometimes God has to prepare us spiritually, to clean sin out of our lives to make us fit and useful vessels.

Anticipation - Often, we come down from the mountain with fresh zeal for the mission; we are anticipatory.

4. When You are on the Mountain, You'll Want to Stay There
"Then it happened, as they were parting from Him, that Peter said to Jesus, "Master, it is good for us to be here; and let us make three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah"-- not knowing what he said." Vs. 33

Here comes Peter with that big mouth of His, saying what the rest of us are thinking, but don't have the gumption to say out loud. Jesus, He says, this is great; let's just stay right here. We'll put up one tent for Moses and one for Elijah and one for You. As Ray Stedman put it, we'll just make this mountain our new world-wide headquarters. They are having a thrilling experience; who wouldn't want to keep it going? One should be prepared for this emotion and reaction while on the mountain.

5. Your Time on the Mountain is a Time for Reverence
"While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were fearful as they entered the cloud. And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, 'This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!'" vs. 34-35

While Peter is still running his big mouth, the Shikanah descended upon them. The luminescent glory of God descended upon Jesus and Moses and Elijah. A voice comes out of the cloud, and said, "This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!" They hear the voice of God! And the Father instructs the disciples to be quiet and listen. Sometimes when we are on the mountain, it is a temptation to be full of ourselves and to mistake that for being full of Jesus. We are simply so thrilled about it all, that we get hyper and begin to sense a self-confidence which is not warranted. The lesson here is to humbly learn at the feet of Jesus and not offer God any "brilliant" ideas of the flesh.

6. When the Glory of the Mountain Fades, Jesus is Still There
"When the voice had ceased, Jesus was found alone." Vs. 36

When the voice spoke, the disciples fear and fall on their faces before God, afraid to even peek. But Jesus approaches them, the other Gospels tell us, and touches them, telling them not to fear. When they do look up they saw Jesus only. There is no more cloud of glory. There is no more voice of God. Moses is gone. Elijah is gone. Everything is back to normal. One can easily imagine their hearts sinking in disappointment. But here we learn one of the most important lessons of the mountain: Jesus is not only necessary; Jesus is enough. Though the thrill and the glory was gone, Jesus was still there. Jesus is present and more than adequate especially when we are not on the mountain.

7. After the Mountain of Glory Comes the Valley of Need vs. 37-40
"Now it happened on the next day, when they had come down from the mountain. . ."

God made not only the mountain, but also the valleys... and the path down the mountain. Just as surely as Jesus led the three up the mountain, He led them down. And when they came down there was a man with a demon possessed boy, an only child tormented by the unclean spirit. The disciples who had remained in the valley had been unable to cast it out. But Jesus now does and then heals the child both physically and emotionally and returns the child to the Father whole. That would never have happened if they had stayed on the mountain. Jesus will lead us to the valley of need to accomplish our mission. There are too many people with too many needs not to come to the valley.