In His Presence
May 30, 2021
While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, "This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!" When the disciples heard this, they fell face down to the ground and were terrified. And Jesus came to them and touched them and said, "Get up, and do not be afraid." And lifting up their eyes, they saw no one except Jesus Himself alone (Matthew 17:5-8).
I’ve often wondered what my response would be if the Lord spoke to me in an audible voice as He did with Peter, James, and John, or if the angel Gabriel appeared and spoke to me as he did with Mary and Joseph, or if the resurrected Jesus appeared and spoke with me as He did with Peter that day on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Would I fall on my face terrified? Would I converse with Jesus or Gabriel as I would with any other person?
In the transfiguration Peter, James, and John were privileged to see and hear what few people were permitted to see or hear. The visible glory of the Lord shone through the flesh of Jesus and, like a supercharged mist it enveloped them. The voice of the Father was heard commending Jesus and commanding the disciples to hear and obey Him. What an exciting, wonder filled event! But instead of acting like a group of giddy schoolboys, the disciples reacted not so much out of reverence, but as men struck with such astonishment and fear they fell with their faces to the ground unable to stand before holy God.
At that moment Jesus came to them speaking words of comfort and peace. He touched them and encouraged them to get up and finish the plan God had set for Jesus. And lifting up their eyes, they saw no one except Jesus Himself alone is a very telling statement. Moses and Elijah were gone, signifying that the law and the prophets were now fulfilled and finished, and that Mosaic Judaism was to be no more. Only Jesus stood before them in the same form as before His transfiguration, signifying that He alone is the only Mediator, Savior, and Redeemer, the only Prophet, Priest, and King to the people of God. He will, through the Holy Spirit, abide with His people and help, comfort, and save them, as no one else can.
It is difficult to speculate what any of us would do had we been in the sandals of Peter, James, and John that day. Would we have fallen asleep in the first place? Would we have been terrified at the transfiguration of Jesus? Would we have been mystified at the brilliant cloud enveloping us? Would we have bowed in humble adoration and reverence at the voice of the Father? Would we have understood the reality of what was going on and the symbolism it portrayed?
“Lord Jesus, You are the holy Lord of glory, the King of kings and Lord of lords, the exalted Lord of the universe. Such titles are easy to express, but the reality they convey is one that gives us pause. To be in Your physical presence would be awesome, but that awesomeness would drive us to our knees before you in reverence, adoration, and praise. You are worthy of our worship, and it will be a joy for us to gather around Your throne in heaven to give you this worship face to face. Until then, may You be praised and honored by our worship here. Amen.