It’s good for us to be here, but let’s remember home
The transfiguration of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is one of the most beautiful events recorded in the Holy Bible. Many articles can be, and has been, written about that event which affirmed Jesus Christ as the beloved Son of God to whom we should listen. The focus of this article, however, is on what Peter said as he witnessed the event.
One day, Jesus left the rest of his disciples and took with him Peter, James, and John to the top of a high mountain. While there, Jesus was transfigured and his face shone like the sun and his clothes became as white as light. Then Moses and Elijah appeared and started talking to Jesus. Peter was so happy and excited about the magnificent experience that he suggested to Jesus that: “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.” As Peter was 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.” (Matthew 17:1-5).
Peter’s excited utterance was understandable. As human beings, when we experience events or reach a stage that bring joy and happiness into our lives, we would like to make them permanent. We would like to keep the experience and memory of them for a very long time. We would like to forget about our previous unpleasant situations and embrace our new environment and source of happiness.
Many of us do that when we move from our small villages to large cities and find life in large cities far better than what we experienced in our villages. Many of us do that when we move from our countries to other countries where conditions are far better than the countries from which we left. And many of us do that when we allow the temporary enjoyment and happiness on this earth and the pursuit of them, to keep our hearts and minds away from things that place us on the path to our permanent home in heaven. It is good for us to be wherever we have found joy and happiness in our lives, but let us remember home.
When Peter made the statement, he forgot that their presence on the top of the mountain was supposed to be temporary; that they had left the other disciples at the foot of the mountain; and that there was plenty of work to be done back where they came from.
Note that a few days before the mountain top experience, Jesus had told the disciples that he would go to Jerusalem and suffer and be killed. When Peter heard that he told Jesus that it would not happen that way, and Jesus even called him Satan for not having the mind of God, but of men (Matthew16:21-23). Comparing the mountain top experience to the suffering and death that Christ talked about a few days earlier, who can blame Peter for wanting to build shelters on the top of the mountain and making the experience last longer and even making the place his permanent home?
In the same way, who can blame a person for leaving his or her small village for a better life in a large city? When we leave our small villages to large cities, we may not see the people and problems in the villages on a daily basis, but they are still there. It may be good for us to be where we are in the large cities, but let us remember home. We should not let the good life in the cities prevent us from doing what we can to improve upon the conditions at home. Complaining and hoping that others would turn things around for the better would not help.
The same for those who leave their home countries in search of a better life abroad. Many leave with good intentions to find ways to contribute to the development of their home countries. However, the excitement of the economic, political, and social freedoms and opportunities in the new countries overwhelm them and they forget home. In other words, they feel so much “at home” in their new countries that they forget home. The desires to build shelters and plant roots in the new countries are compelling, but let us remember home.
It is also the same for all people. When God created the heavens and the earth, and created man in His own image to rule over His creation, “God saw all that he had made and it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31). And so, it is good for all of us to be here on this earth. However, for Christians, no matter how long we live, this world is not our permanent home. Our citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20) and to heaven we will go by God’s grace. In essence, the Christian is a dual citizen - a temporary citizen of the earth and a permanent citizen of heaven. Heaven is our eternal home.
Therefore, we should not let things of this world hold us down or derail our onward journey to heaven. It is good to make big plans and build structures like what Peter wanted to build for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah, but we should not do so at the expense of our souls. Let us set our minds on the things above, not on earthly things (Colossians 3:2). Ironically, we set our minds on things above by coming down from the top of the mountain and using God’s grace and our mountain top experience to do the works of God on earth.
The glory that Peter, James and John saw during the transfiguration was just a glimpse of what is in store for Christians. As it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9). We should carry ourselves as responsible citizens of heaven by following and doing what Christ would have us do, not what pleases us or other people. Like Elijah (who was taken directly to heaven) and Moses, those who have died as faithful servants of God will enjoy His glory.
The confluence of the law, the prophets, and grace, represented by Moses, Elijah, and Jesus, respectfully, demonstrated continuity and unity of purpose in God’s divine plans for our lives. As we celebrate Good Friday and Easter, let us remember that the grace of God, revealed in His Son Jesus Christ, is available to all who seek Him, and that it is by His grace that we will make it home. It is good for us to be here, but let us remember home – our temporary, earthly home and our permanent, heavenly home.
Prayer is the key. May God grant us the grace to seek Him daily through our prayers.
Dr. Daniel Gyebi, Attorney-at-Law, Texas, U.S.A., and Founder, PrayerHouse Ministry, Kumasi, Ghana.
PrayerHouse Ministry is dedicated to providing a quiet facility for Christians to pray individually by themselves without any intermediary priest, pastor or any other person. This is a free service. No money is demanded or accepted. One facility is located at Kyerekrom / Fumesua, near Building and Road Research Institute Offices, one mile off the Kumasi-Accra Road and next to a house called Grace Castle. If you are interested, please contact Agnes at 027-7423815. Another is located at Kantinkyiren, at the junction of Kantinkyiren and Konkori, off the Kumasi-Obuasi Road, branching left at Trede junction. Contact Kwadwo at 020-8768461 / 0246-989413.
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