Friday, April 7, 2017
To the End of the Road
Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. Matthew 17:1-2 (although you might want to read through the end of the story, to Verse 13.)
[Author's note: This is a fictionalized account of events before and after Jesus was crucified. I've tried to keep the history precise while telling the story--but please forgive me if I make a mistake. And please let me know when I do!)
Simon Peter trudged up the mountain trail a little behind Jesus, James, and John. There were times when the few years older he was than the others seemed more than a few. He stopped and sat on a rock for a few moments, catching his breath and wiping the sweat from his face. Even though the air was cool, the hike had warmed him up considerably. He stood and removed his heavy woolen cloak, placing it over his arm.
"Wait, friends! Have mercy--I can't keep up with you."
John, the youngest of the group, laughed. "Come on, old man. The day is moving on without you."
James elbowed his brother. "How many times do I have to chide you about your jabbing remarks?"
"There will be plenty of time for rest when we reach the top," Jesus said. "For now we need to keep going."
Peter nodded and grumbled under his breath. "Easy for the lot of you, not so easy for me. Huh."
It wasn't long, though, until they came to an open clearing. The trees and bushes had thinned as they climbed, the way less sloped, and the going easier. Peter wiped his face on the cloak and plopped down on an old log.
Jesus looked around. "This is the place," He murmured. He lifted His hands and had started to pray when suddenly His dusty cloak became a brilliant white and His face shone like the sun.
Peter's jaw dropped. He glanced at the other two disciples and noted they looked as dumbfounded as he felt.
Two bearded older men appeared beside the Master--Moses and Elijah? The other two were also in clean white clothing, but not as bright as Jesus's. The three began earnestly talking together. It seemed like the two visitors were there to encourage Jesus. They laid their hands on His shoulders, their faces sober, their voices too soft to understand. Jesus nodded, and tears rolled down His cheeks.
Peter stood and took a few steps toward the three. Would they let him into their conversation? "Lord, it's good that we're here. If You want, we'll build three tabernacles here: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah," he said, taking another step.
He halted abruptly as a thunderous voice erupted from a bright cloud over their heads.
"This is My beloved Son, in whom I'm well pleased. Listen to Him!"
Peter fell on his knees, his face to the ground, shaking in fear. A moment later, he felt a hand under his arm lifting him to his feet.
"Don't be afraid," Jesus said. "Stand up."
Peter noticed James and John also rising to their feet. He was glad he hadn't been the only one so terrified. Moses and Elijah had disappeared.
Still a little shaky, Peter and the others started back down the mountain.
Jesus stopped, touching each of their arms to halt them. "I don't want you to tell anyone about this yet. Wait until after I rise from the dead."