As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, walking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem.
Jesus took Peter, John, and James with Him up onto a mountain to pray. They were His closest disciples, having formed a bond that enabled Jesus to take them to the intimate place of prayer. Jesus prayed to His Father, and His intimacy with His Father was evident as He prayed: …his face changed. He modeled His intimacy with God the Father, and undoubtedly His disciples learned a valuable lesson in being in the Presence of God. I suspect that their prayer life was transformed on the mountain that day. As Jesus prayed, Moses and Elijah appeared, speaking to Jesus. The presence of Moses and Elijah pointed to the time when Jesus’ death and resurrection would fulfill the law and all the prophecies of the Old Testament. Moses represented the Law and Elijah represented the prophets.
Peter and his companions were sleepy, but when they saw the glory of Christ and the two men standing with Him, they became fully awake.
(v.32) Isn’t it interesting that they became sleepy as they prayed with Christ?
We see this happening again in the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus asks them to stay alert in prayer and they fall asleep. Without an awareness of the Presence of God, with only a call to obedience apart from relationship, the disciples found prayer boring – lulling them to sleep. But when God’s Presence was revealed through His glory, they awoke and responded.
Our prayer life takes wings when we know we are in the Presence of God. Suddenly, our spirit is awakened to the glory of God, and the intimacy that Jesus had with His father is seen in our relationship with Christ through prayer. The Lord does not want us to pray by rote, but by our relationship and awareness of the Presence of God.
Peter responded as Elijah and Moses were leaving Jesus: Master it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters – one for you and one for Moses and Elijah. (v.33) Peter had a new experience on the mountain that day. He saw the intimacy that Jesus had with His Father. He saw the glory of God displayed on the mountain, and then he wished to capture the moment by building structures around his mountain top experience.
We sometimes are tempted to recapture our mountain top experiences – times when we have prayed and known the strong Presence of God. But we are not called to stay on the mountain top. We are called to take the Presence of God into the valley of our lives.
I long for intimacy with Christ as Christ had with His Father. Invigorate my prayers with Your Presence. I seek You, Lord – not an experience, only You. Fill me with the glory of God in my times with You so that I might reflect Your glory in the valley of life.
In Jesus’ name, Amen