THE PURPOSE OF MOUNTAIN EXPERIENCES
Throughout the nation of Greece, monasteries perched high on small mountain plateaus frequent the landscape. Accessibility to them is almost nonexistent. Their only contact with the outside world is by means of a primitive cable setup, largely there for the refurbishing of supplies. These monasteries are built with one purpose in mind – for secluded spiritual retreat. Some monks spend their entire lives holed up in these structures.
Peter, James, and John were taken by Jesus to a high mountain for a memorable spiritual encounter. On that mountain Jesus was transfigured before their eyes and his clothes became a dazzling white. (Mark 9:2-13) Suddenly Elijah and Moses appeared talking with Jesus. God was graciously authenticating to them the fact that Jesus was the Son of God – the promised Messiah who had come to redeem man from their sin.
Peter got so drawn into the whole experience that he suggested to Jesus they build three permanent shelters where he, Elijah, and Moses could hunker down and stay. At that moment a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and a voice came from the cloud that called out, “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!” Immediately their two heavenly guests disappeared, and they saw no one except Jesus.
God did not build us for mountains and high experiences. Moments like this are gifts! They are only to serve to encourage, inspire, and prepare so that we can live effectively in the valley among ordinary people and the common stuff of everyday life. It is in the valley that each of us must prove the reality of our faith. An emotional, self-indulgent Christianity craves for the high moments. Like Peter we want to build a more permanent shelter and just hunker down away from the misery of the world. But this is not what we were built to do. Jesus said, “As the Father has sent me – so send I you.”
“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in the very nature of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!” (Phil. 2:5-8 NIV)
God did not create us to be recluses, longing only for moments of alone time with Him. Nor did he create us to be spectators in the drama of life. His purpose for us is to be active participants – out in the arena of human need – functioning in some way as light and salt and beacons of hope to a lost and dying world. (Phil. 2:15)
Like Jesus, Peter, James, and John – the time comes when we must go down into the demon-controlled valleys of human suffering to meaningfully live out our lives. To care for the dying. To lift the fallen. To tell them Jesus is merciful. Jesus can save.
Be blessed my friend.
The Barnabas Group / Loads of Love
Mark 9:2-32; Philippians 2:12-18
NOTE: Today I leave on an eight-day mission to Nicaragua. We’ll be launching a national initiative called YOUR LIFE MATTERS to reach college and university students all over this nation with the good new of Jesus. Would appreciate your prayers.