2-24-17 - Witnesses

As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, “Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”

How nonchalant that sounds, “So, listen, guys, don’t say anything to the others about this until, you know, after I've been raised from the dead…” Say, what? Raised from the… What?

Why do you suppose Jesus invited these three on this little retreat up the mountain? I have my theories: I think he wanted them to see more fully who he truly was, the true identity which his humanity partially obscured. For a moment that veil was lifted and his “God-essence” shone through. Jesus needed them to see that to help them endure the trials he knew were coming, for him and for his band of followers. And he needed witnesses who could testify later, after his resurrection, when the conspiracy theorists and “he didn’t really die” people and the 1st century “truth-ers” got into the act. He needed three witnesses who could say what they’d seen, and what they’d heard.

And testify they did. In his second letter, Peter wrote, “We did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when that voice was conveyed to him by the Majestic Glory, saying, ‘This is my Son, my Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.’ We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven, while we were with him on the holy mountain.”

People who were determined not to believe may not have been swayed – but the eyewitness testimony from three leaders of integrity no doubt shored up the faith of many inclined to accept the Good News of resurrection life, and encouraged the movement of Jesus followers in the church's early months and years.

It’s not enough for us to be open to encounters with the living God, which I absolutely believe God desires for us. We also need to tell our stories, even at the risk of derision or doubt. We can give voice to our experiences of God, or to words we believe we have received from the Spirit. Such revelation can and should be measured against the revelation of Scripture, and confirmation from other believers, and ultimately by what fruit it bears in your life and ministry. But don’t keep quiet – somebody needs to hear your story; somebody needs to have their own story confirmed by hearing about yours; somebody needs that little nudge to take the step into faith in Jesus Christ.

Is there a “God-story” from your life that you haven’t told anyone, or haven’t told for a while? Recall it for yourself; even write it out, to recover the details. And then ask the Spirit to lead you to someone who needs to hear that story. I believe it’ll happen. (Then you’ll have another story to tell.)

As Peter continued, “So we have the prophetic message more fully confirmed. You will do well to be attentive to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.”

Sometimes we are called to be that lamp shining in a dark place. Speak up.

No comments:

Post a Comment