Going to the mountains in North Carolina was always a favorite vacation for my family. We particularly enjoyed Grandfather Mountain, Maggie Valley and the Blue Ridge Parkway all in North Carolina. When it was time to go home, we never wanted to leave.
But if we were to continue our schoolwork and our lives, we had to come down from the mountain and go back to work.
In Luke 9, Jesus spent some time on a mountain being glorified and transfigured. Transfigure means to have one’s appearance changed. Even Jesus’ clothes became white. Peter was so impressed with what happened, he wanted Jesus to allow him to build three “tabernacles,” or tents for the Lord, Moses and Elijah. It was then that God spoke from heaven saying, “This is my beloved son: hear him!”
For Jesus, it was time to come down from the mountain. It might have been great to linger in the glorious spotlight, but Jesus was sent to the world to complete his work. So, Jesus decided to leave the mountain and come back down where people needed him.
Jesus was teaching his apostles an object lesson in what the kingdom meant. Being in the kingdom meant work and service. While the apostles argued about who was going to be greatest in the kingdom (Luke 9:46), Jesus took a child and demonstrated greatness in the kingdom is humbling oneself as a servant. Jesus said, “he that is least among you all, the same shall be great,” (Luke 9:48).
But, isn’t that what Jesus was pointing to earlier in the chapter when he talked about carrying a cross daily? Didn’t he twice before, in verses 22 and 44, point to the cross and plainly tell his disciples he would suffer and be delivered up into the hands of men who wanted to kill him? But, that was precisely why he came into the world, wasn’t it? He came into this world to give himself as a sin sacrifice for us all.
Jesus said, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosever shall lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it,” (Luke 9:24). People hoard their lives, but do not want to lose them. They are not willing to give their lives in the service of God and their fellows. As Christians, we must be willing to spend our lives serving God and people, for that is what Jesus did. If we spend all of our lives in the service of others, are we not like our Savior, who spent his entire life helping us and providing us with forgiveness of sins?
Isn’t that our moment on the mountain?