"Fulfiller of the past and hope of things to be, We hail Thy body glorified and our redemption see.
"'Tis good, Lord, to be here! Yet we may not remain; But since Thou bidst us leave the mount, come with us to the plain."
What would it have been like to join the three disciples on the mountain to see the Lord transfigured in glory? Jesus' face shone like the sun and His clothing shimmered white as light as Moses and Elijah appeared to speak with Him. Peter offered to set up three tents to preserve the divine glory, perhaps providing places to stay and worship, but he was babbling a bit out of sheer terror: "He did not know what to say, for they were terrified" (Mark 9:6). The disciples' fear only increased when God the Father spoke out of a cloud, "This is My beloved Son; listen to Him" (Mark 9:7b). Falling face down on the ground, the disciples were relieved to look up and find no one but Jesus, the Jesus they had always known.
No tents were set up; no one stayed on the mountain. On the way down to the plain below, the experience changed—from the vision of glory to a conversation about suffering and death. Jesus spoke about His death and resurrection. He talked about John the Baptist, who had been imprisoned and murdered by King Herod. Soon Jesus Himself would be betrayed, arrested, and condemned. He would shoulder the burden of His cross and the heavier burden of the world's sin. On another hill, He would die the death we deserve for our sins. Hearing all this talk of suffering, the disciples probably wanted to go back up onto that mountain.
We know the feeling. We may experience spiritual high points and a sense of God's majesty in moments in worship or in the study of His Word. We would very much like to pitch a tent at that point and stay indefinitely. We want the high points to continue but, for now, they cannot last. We follow Jesus, and that means following Him across the flat plains of suffering and, finally, into the deep "valley of the shadow of death" (Psalm 23:4b). Yet just as Jesus walked down the mountain with His disciples, He walks with us. When we must leave those high points behind and head down the mountain, we fix our eyes as the disciples did on "no one but Jesus only" (Matthew 17:8b). When we take up the cross to walk through suffering, our crucified and risen Lord hears our prayer: "Since Thou bidst us leave the mount, come with us to the plain."
WE PRAY: Jesus, walk with me here until I walk with You in glory. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn, "'Tis Good, Lord, to Be Here," which is number 414 in the Lutheran Service Book.
1. Have you ever been someplace you didn't want to leave? Where was it?
2. How do you think you would have reacted to Jesus' transfiguration?
3. Sometimes church can give us an overwhelming sense of contentment and peace. Have you experienced that before?
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