Sunday, February 14, 2010

Are You a Peter? - 2 Corinthians 3:12-4:2 and Luke 9:28-36

Today is Transfiguration Sunday and this is an important day. It is not just the day that we get to read about the transfiguration or the miracle that happens to Christ, rather than at his hands for others, but it is time for us begin preparing ourselves for Lent. Today is about helping us to re-focus on the teachings and preachings of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

I've Got It!
I have a bad habit. I know, I know...the image of perfection you had of me has just been shattered. But I have a bad habit. I am a fixer. Several years ago Debbie came home from church with a vision. She wanted to figure out a way to start a new ministry at our church that would include the entire family. An evening that would have something for everyone. Then she told me that she had met some resistance from her worship committee. Those words no sooner left her mouth before I started in on what she needed to do to get this ministry off the ground. I began to tell her how to re-present this idea to the committee, what to say, the angle to focus on, and the benefits of starting a program like this.

I then launched in to what this program should look like. I told her who she should contact to run parts of it, I began to outline an itinerary, how many volunteers we would need...I even told her the best day of the week and the time frame to have it in. I was so proud of myself. In 15 minutes I had been the perfect husband and solved all her immediate problems. Everything was grand!

Jesus is Transfigured
you see, I was acting just like Peter from our second Scripture lesson this morning. As our story opens we find Jesus leading James, John, and Peter up a mountain for a time of prayer. Scripture does not list the name of the mountain, but scholars using other historical sources believe it to be Mount Tabor, located in Lower Galilee, about 11 miles from the Sea of Galilee.

Now Scripture tells that while Jesus was praying his face changed and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning (Luke 9:29). We are also told that Moses and Elijah appear in glorious splendor and begin talking with Jesus. Peter, James, and John had become sleepy and when they become fully awake realize what is happening. But as they awake Moses and Elijah are getting ready to take their leave from Jesus and Peter's immediate reaction is to do something. He tells Christ that he will put up three shelters, one each for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah. We know this is a reaction and not a well thought our plan because Scripture tells us that Peter did not know what he was saying.

But as he was explaining all this to Christ, they are all engulfed in a cloud and God speaks to them saying, "This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him." (Luke 9:35). After God speaks, Jesus is then found to be alone.

Are you a Peter?
So my question for you this week is are you a Peter? Now please do not misunderstand me, Peter was a great champion of the early church and there are many wonderful things we can learn from him, but he was human. So I ask again, with great respect, are you a Peter? When you experience something is your first response a reaction based on your gut instinct, on your own intellect, on your own rationale? If so, congratulations you are a member of the human race! However, this passage shows us another way, a better way. As Peter's mind is racing about what he should be doing when he finds himself in the presence of not only Christ, but Moses and Elijah as well, God interrupts him and says wait...slow down...I have a better way. Right here in front of you is my Son, my Son whom I have chosen. Listen to Him.

Folks, that should be our first reaction when we are trying to make sense of something. Our first reaction should be to go to God and listen to God. We have talked several times about how important it is to have quiet, uninterrupted, alone time with God. Not to just pray but to listen. By all means talk to God, pour your heart out, cry, laugh, express yourself. But then listen. Close your mouth, quiet your spirit, and listen. God told Peter, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him." Christ is still here today, right now, right here. He has something to say, to you, to me, to all of us. Psalm 46:10 says it the best, “Be still and know that I am God”.

Jesus came to us for a reason. He died for us for a reason. And it was not to leave us alone, but to walk with us, talk with us, guide us, but most importantly love us. We just need to constantly trust Him, obey Him, and turn to him.

After I had told Debbie how to fix all her problems, I looked over to her so I could take in her appreciation and I immediately knew I had missed something. She had this look on her face that told me that something had flown over my head and was on its way to Key West. She smiled at me and she said, “Is it my turn to speak now?” Sheepishly I said, “of course, I'm sorry.”

She told me she had already fixed the problem, In fact her solution was much better than mine. She said all I wanted to do was share with you what I experienced today. Well I am here today to tell you that I am now, by the grace and work of Christ, a redeemed fixer. I have learned, most of the time, to listen before I speak, ask if she needs help or an ear, and to not think of myself as the uber Bob Villa.

Christ came into this world to seek and to save, he has a plan that is far superior to anything we could ever conjure up. And he is very eager to share it with us. In fact He tells us repeatedly in Scripture, that if we put all of our trust and faith in Him, he will provide the way. Will you trust him this Lenten season? Will you renew your efforts to be a loyal and faithful disciple of Jesus Christ? Christ loves you, Christ died specifically for you, and wants nothing more than welcome you into his everlasting love. Please let him!

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