“Some eight days after these sayings, He (Jesus) took along Peter and John and James and went up to the mountain to pray. And while He was praying, the appearance of His face became different, and His clothing became white and gleaming.” Luke 9:29
After the miracle of The Feeding of The 5,000, Jesus challenged all His disciples with the very essence of a walk with God. He invited them to follow Him up to The Mountain to pray.
A personal walk with God begins with immediate, and personal obedience to the words of Jesus, “Follow ME!” This new Christian walk continues by applying the testimony of The Apostle Paul, “I die daily.” A balanced walk takes both.
“If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up His cross daily and follow Me.” – Jesus, Lord and Savior
Eight days after making this statement, once again, Jesus “went up to the mountain to pray.” Some people climb higher to get a better view of creation available to them by a change in elevation. Jesus was drawn to greater heights to get a better view of The Creator. A closer view of God requires more than a change in elevation. It requires a focus on intimate communication with The Father, and intense intercession on behalf of others.
Luke records this time Jesus did not go alone to pray, but took three of His closest friends with Him. Receiving the message does not require repeating the miracle on “The Mount of Transfiguration.” To learn the lessons of the experience, they must first be remembered and then received.
A miracle is a sign of more to come, not a point of the final arrival at the destination. After Jesus fed five thousand, He gave His twelve disciples a one question pop quiz. “Who do the people say that I am?” Peter’s correct response was, “The Christ of God.” Jesus then challenged each of His disciples wishing to follow Him, to “take up his cross and die daily.”
Note to self: When God allows you to be a part of something that only He can do, it is not an excuse for you to sit down and take a break, or to write your memoirs. It is an invitation to die daily and to climb higher in your walk with Jesus. Get over yourself and get with The Father, in The Spirit, by praying in the name of The Son, Jesus Christ.
Dying daily requires a living faith that is sustained by believing prayer. This death is exhibited by praying with the last breath that is in one’s lungs and by climbing higher with the next step of faith.
Climbing higher requires leaving other people behind and former pastimes below. Peter, John and James left the other disciples behind and followed Jesus to new heights. What they were privileged to see on The Mountain was not a result of their experience or their eloquence. It was a by-product of their obedience.
“Too many men pray cream and live skim milk.” Henry Ward Beecher, 19th Century American preacher and pastor
“And while He was praying” indicates that Jesus didn’t just climb The Mountain to get a better view. He climbed higher to get in touch with God. Some people will make an effort to go to church, attend a conference, a camp, and even a prayer meeting, but fail to get in touch with God. They skim the surface of God’s Word but never taste the cream of His Presence. Jesus had a taste for what mattered most in His life, and through prayer, He dove into the deeper and the sweeter Presence of God.
Prayer made a visible difference in Jesus because The Father reached down and touched Him. When The Son knelt down and called out to The Father, He responded with His Presence. Prayerless people exhibit a form of insanity by continuing to expect a different result by repeating the same mistake. Prayeful people experience the difference only God can make.
“The appearance of His face became different.”
During the past 42 years of ministry, I have presided over the deathwatches and funerals of hundreds of people. Those who are in the final hours of their lives on earth take on a different look, as they gain a clearer perspective on Heaven. It has not been unusual for people to call out by name to people they recognize, but who remain unseen by others in the room.
Believing prayer has a similar effect. It puts the prayer warrior above the sound of the battle, and in touch with The Champion who has already won the victory. Those who pray are not marked with worry lines, but reflect the peace that passes all understanding.
“Peace is the blessing of believing prayer.” Don Miller, Pastor, Preacher, Church Planter and Prayer Warrior
“His clothing became white and gleaming.”
One of the earliest Madison Avenue platitudes I can recall is, “Clothes make the man.” It isn’t true. Actually, clothes only announce the man. What the man does while wearing the clothes makes him or breaks him. Better clothes won’t make a better man. The prayerless man is merely the “Poster Boy” of an empty suit. Cheap grace always produces cheap suits. But I digress.
The appearance of Jesus, both His face and His clothes, changed, “while He was praying.” This was a reflection of The Father’s pleasure on His Son. The followers of Jesus are never more pleasing to The Father than when they follow His Son into the arena of prayer. Self-made men are prayerless men who make a name for themselves, but never discover the difference God can make in them and through them.
“While He was praying,” two men, Moses and Elijah, began “talking with Him…speaking about His departure which He was about to accomplish in Jerusalem.” v. 30-31
Waking from prayerless sleep, and seeing Moses and Elijah, Peter, never one to fail to speak His mind, called on Jesus to mark this special occasion with three equal tabernacles. He equated these two men talking with Jesus, as a sign of their equality with Him. “Not realizing what he was saying,” indeed. Peter was silenced by the voice of God. “This is My Son, My Chosen One, listen to Him.” v. 35
Dying daily involves following Jesus into the arena of prayer, and staying there long enough until the prayer warrior’s concern for change in his circumstances pales in significance to the desire for the change only The Presence of God can make in his countenance. The Father knows by the look on the faces of His children when they have been worrying more and praying less. Other people can tell the difference too. Die more. Worry less. TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!