A series of expositions on John the Apostle Pt.8
"Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom."
The breeze brought relief from the mid-day sun. Jesus and the twelve recline on a bank at the foot of
, resting from the
days walking. Young John sat in deep thought trying to make sense of what the
teacher had again told them of his coming death. John was terrified to think of
loosing his Messiah who he now knew to be the very Son of Yahweh. Mount Tabor
Peter had said what they all were convinced of after watching him stop a storm and clear the skies with the wave of his hand. “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
This Rabbi had no doubt in him, no fear, and no sin in his character; he was a complete and sure man like none John had ever known.
Young John was obsessed with trying to reconcile in his mind what the teacher’s meaning and purpose was in telling them he would be executed, after all the Messiah foretold in the prophets would not die but would usher in a new kingdom. “How can the Son of the most high allow himself to be killed?” John thought to himself.
John raised his head and saw that Jesus was looking on at him in his deep worry. A small smile and a look of reassurance painted the Rabbi’s face and John knew from deep in his heart that his teacher could see his worry and confusion. Jesus leaned and placed his hand on John’s shoulder “Gather your brother and come on a walk with me.” John went to James and retuned to the Lord who now stood with Peter. Jesus began up the mountain. “Does he intend to finally answer our questions?” John thought as they climbed. As Jesus continued on it became clear he intended to reach the very top and the three exchanged confused looks, but by now they had learned not to question the Lord’s intentions. The climbing was hard on their weary legs after the journey they’d just finished with. After long hard climb up steep terrain they began coming into a clearing and it appeared the summit was near. Young John walked between Peter and James, they often needed one another for support as they ascended. The Lord was at least five strides ahead. John had his eyes fixed on Jesus as he came into the clearing of the summit.
What Young John’s eyes beheld next he would spend the remainder of his life trying to explain to others.
A light more brilliant than seven suns began to shine from within their Lord, but it was not a light you needed to shield your eyes from but one you couldn’t stop gazing into. The Lord’s robe seemed made from a white light, the whitest white imaginable, his face beamed with an internal light that caused John to fall to his knees and weep. They all gasped when suddenly Elijah and Moses appeared and began to speak with the Lord.
John had no thoughts, he made no movements but sat there on his knees weeping, shaking and looking on. John heard Peter begin to babble incoherently about building tabernacles, and James laying in the grass sobbing. John understood what Peter meant, he didn’t want to leave but stay here in this place, in this scene always, and John felt the same.
A great cloud descended on them, a cloud like none John had ever seen before, it seemed made somehow of light. Suddenly a voice broke forth “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased, hear Him!”
The voice seemed to vibrate through young John’s body; it seemed made of thunder or rushing waters or both, the sound was deafening and the three now lay face down. Moments passed, stillness fell about them, and John with his eyes still squinted shut could feel the breeze once again.
“Arise and do not be afraid!” Jesus said
John slowly pulled his head from his arms and saw that it was all gone, the sun hung low now in the sky and the breeze blew threw his hair. He looked to the Lord’s face and saw flesh again and took a deep breath, the other two rose to their feet also. Jesus stood with a large peaceful grin painted across his face as they gathered themselves. Then he turned and began descending quickly.
“Tell the vision to no one until the Son of Man has risen from the dead!” He called back to them as young John struggled to keep up while trying to make sense of what he’d seen. This teacher of theirs held authority over not only the storms and the seas but over the law and the prophets as well.
John had heard the stories of the prophets of old describing the voice of Yahweh and had dreamed of what hearing His voice would be like and now he had and that voice had called their Rabbi His own Son.
Again this new knowledge caused the same questions to flood back into young John’s mind. “How then could he allow himself to be killed, what did he mean risen from the dead, when would this occur, why not just reveal himself to the Pharisees?”
Peter broke the silence “Why then do the scribes say Elijah must come first?” “Indeed Elijah is coming and will restore all things, but I say to you Elijah has come already and they did not know him, but did to him whatever they wished.” Jesus replied.
What a sight this must have been, how unexplainable and yet uncontainable. It must have been excruciating to keep quiet about such an event, surely when the three disciples rejoined the others it was visible on their faces that something incredible had occurred, certainly questions were asked but I have no doubt that after being witness to this transfiguration the three didn’t say a peep.
This to me is a glimpse, however small and clouded it might be because of our limited finite perspective from this world; of what it will be like on that day when like a flash the truth is made known to all. I can not imagine the horror it will cause in many as all of us are laid bare by His glorious presence. Their will be no more hiding, rationalizing, or excusing of what we have made of our lives, of what we have made of God’s Son.
There was a time in my life that I really believed I could stand before God and debate Him as if He were an equal or that I could even stand in judgment of Him. We, as these disciples here, have a tendency to pull God down and make Him small, to think we can figure Him out and then begin to think we might do a better job of being the Creator. Imagine a mosquito landing on your shoulder and trying to explain to you how you’ve been getting many things in life wrong and you’ll be on your way to starting to grasp how ridiculous it is to not have complete reverence for God in His immensity and governance. We must read His word and commune with His Spirit daily and allow Him to stretch us, our perspective, our knowledge, and our understanding to begin to see our true position as His created beings. Like it or not we belong to Him completely and on the day we stand before Him we will be struck and convicted wholly with the knowledge that we never were our own, and that every single thing we ever had was given to us by Him alone. Whatever happiness, contentment, or completeness we will have found in this life will be due solely to our life’s response to His Son and nothing else. All the running about to serve our own pleasures and not His Son will be made abundantly clear as we give an accounting.
The chair you sit in reading this is made up of millions of swirling molecules and atoms that are made active by Him. He calibrates the division of cells in your blood now and also the birth of new stars
light-years away, take a deep breath and thank Him for it because He gave it to you.
He is the source of all rightness, goodness, justice, and most of all Love. These are not things He does or traits of His personality they are His essence and we His creatures created in His likeness can only utilize these things because He has bestowed them. Any separateness or individuality we believe ourselves to have is no more than an illusion that we have clutched onto in order to satisfy our own sinful nature. This idea, this lie was proposed in the garden and continues to fool millions today.
To the unchanged person the idea of belonging to someone else will be so revolting that they won’t even entertain the idea, but to those that have been born again, to those that have at least begun to walk with Christ, and have felt His presence, His peace, and His transforming light, this knowledge is much like being held in the strong and mighty arms of a grand Father that has us securely in His grasp and will never let us go.
We no longer seek or find our satisfaction in the things or sins of this world but want only to bathe in His glorious light, to stay forever in His tabernacle that He has built for us through His incredible Son.
One day we will all have an experience similar to these three here and how we have spent what He has given will be made clear to us as it is now to Him. If we have lived by the flesh this may be an experience more horrific that can be described but if we have truly sought with all we are to live by the Spirit it will be a more glorious event than can be described in worldly ways.