After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus. As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”
If you’ve ever flown on an airplane, you know they can provide an incredible change in perspective. As the plane takes off large manmade structures and vehicles begin to look less and less impressive. Before long, you start to realize how small we really are, and how big this world really is. It’s quite the change in perspective.
In Matthew chapter 17, Peter, James and John received an even greater change in perspective when the man they knew as Jesus showed them a glimpse of who he really is. His face began to shine like the sun and his clothes even became as white as the light! As if that wasn’t enough, a voice from heaven then said, “This is my Son, whom I love, with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” Immediately their faces hit the dirt—terrified. A few moments ago, Jesus’ appeared just like any other man. Now it was clear he was far from being just any other man. He is also God in the flesh! Talk about a change in perspective!
Who knows what was going through their minds as they lay on the ground scared out of their minds, but it’s not hard to imagine why they were scared. As they stood before the perfect, all powerful God who also demands perfection from us, they knew they weren’t like him. They were nothing like him—certainly not perfect. It wouldn’t be surprising at all if they thought they were about to be struck down by an angry God.
But that’s not what happened. Not even close. Instead of the wrath of an angry God, they felt his loving touch and heard him calmly say, “Get up. Don’t be afraid.” Talk about a change in perspective!
You probably don’t need me to tell you that you would have been afraid on that mountain too. I know I would have been. Anytime imperfect people like you and me are forced to come to grips with who we are we’re faced with the reality that we’re not perfect like our God demands. And that’s a scary thing to realize.
But that’s where we can’t forget the change in perspective Peter, James and John received is for you and me too! The same God who demands perfection from us is the God who lovingly reached out to touch his terrified followers. The same God who demands perfection from us is the God who calmly said, “Get up. Don’t be afraid.” The same God who has every right to punish each and every one of us is the God who took the punishment we deserve when he allowed himself to be beaten, stripped naked and hung on a hunk of wood with some really big nails. He suffered this unthinkable agony so you wouldn’t have to.
Jesus’ incredible love means you are now clean. Your sins are gone—paid for by your God himself! When your God looks at you he sees the perfection he demands! Talk about a change in perspective!
Blessings on the rest of your week!