“Six days later Jesus took Peter, James, and John with him. They went up on a high mountain, where they could be alone. There in front of the disciples, Jesus was completely changed. And his clothes became much whiter than any bleach on earth could make them. Then Moses and Elijah were there talking with Jesus.
Peter said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, it is good for us to be here! Let us make three shelters, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’ But Peter and the others were terribly frightened, and he did not know what he was talking about.
The shadow of a cloud passed over and covered them. From the cloud a voice said, ‘This is my Son, and I love him. Listen to what he says!’ At once the disciples looked around, but they saw only Jesus.” (Contemporary English Version)
The transfiguration of Christ was a glorious experience on the mountain. But we are told that Peter, James, and John, the inner circle of Christ’s disciples, were terribly frightened. Peter, always the extrovert of the group, nervously babbled-on without making any sense because he was so nervous and afraid.
Have you ever wondered why Jesus would take three of his disciples with him to experience such an incredible vision? Why did Jesus show these men something so otherworldly that they nearly soiled themselves? I will tell you why I think Jesus put his close disciples in such a position as this:
Because the way to see Jesus as our only hope, we must face our fears, insecurities, and anxieties squarely without hiding.
Jesus did not relieve their anxiety. He let them feel the full impact of their fear. His glory shone show brightly that they couldn’t hide from what was happening to them and what was in their minds and hearts. Only through shining the light on the shadowy place of our fears and insecurities will we accept that we need a savior. That savior is Jesus, the light of the world, the Lord over fear, anxiety, and discouragement.
The invitation which Jesus extends to us is to move further into our fears so that we can see how desperately we need him. Nobody seeks a savior when they don’t believe they need deliverance from anything. But the one who sees what is truly inside of them – the fear of connection; the scary prospect of confrontation; the anxiety of what will happen; or, the discouragement of failure – is the one who is then able to hear the voice of God and listen to Jesus give the answer to our most pressing life issues.
Jesus Christ wants to change us from the inside-out. He helps us by showing us not to avoid the fears which cause us to be beside ourselves, but through confronting those anxieties with him. You and I are never alone; we always have the glorious presence of Christ with us as we walk through dark valleys and ascend high mountains. It is the wonderful existence and omnipresence of God in Christ through the Spirit which makes all the difference. We were created for connection with the divine, not for separation and loneliness in our fears.
Glorious Christ, you love me with a grace and mercy which always has my best interests in mind. Help me through my most pressing fears and failures so that I might see your glory, hear your voice, and know your constant presence. Amen.