by Tony Johnson
Matthew 17:1-4: “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.’”
When warm weather returns, we’ll see lots of cocoons. In them will be caterpillars waiting to be transformed into butterflies. The cocoon will open and the gorgeous butterfly will emerge to face the world. It’s part of God’s plan to grace us with the beauty of creation.
Cocoons serve a purpose. They protect the developing butterfly. Only when it’s ready to face the world with wings will it emerge. Were it to remain in the cocoon forever, however, we would be robbed of the beauty of one of God’s unique creations.
When I think of this story of Peter, James, and John from Scripture, I think of a cocoon. Jesus took the three disciples up the mountain with Him. While there, Moses and Elijah, two of the greatest figures from the Old Testament, appeared to them. The impulsive Peter immediately thought that he should build shelters for Moses and Elijah, and even one for Jesus. There was something about the moment that he wanted to preserve.
God thought differently. Before Jesus could answer, God spoke, announcing that Jesus was His Son. The disciples fell on their feet in fear. Shortly thereafter, Jesus reassured them through His touch and led them back down the mountain. As they walked, Jesus spoke of the suffering He would soon experience. When they came off the mountain, they were met by the usual sea of humanity, many of whom needed healing.
Occasionally, we’re allowed to experience much of what Peter, James and John experienced. We may not see men like Moses and Elijah, or actually stand in the presence of Jesus, but we know we are in the presence of the Holy Spirit. We can feel Him. We can hear His voice speaking to our hearts. Like Peter, we don’t want to lose the moment. We want to suspend time. We want to build a cocoon that will capture the experience forever. We want the spiritual high to never end. But God has different plans. He calls us to get off the mountain and back into a world of people that need us.
How will you spend today? In a cocoon hidden away from the world or in the midst of people who need you? There is no place for cocoons in the life of a Christian. It’s great to spend time on the mountain with Jesus, but He will never leave us there. Where He will lead us today?
Prayer: Our Father, thank You for letting us feel Your presence. Thank You for allowing us those times where we feel especially close to You. But Father, let us learn from those special times. Let us learn what You want us to do. Let us learn where You want us to go. Let us learn how to do Your work in the world. Let us learn how to help people who hurt. Let us learn how to reach out to people who need us. Let us learn how to emerge from our cocoons of comfort and show people what a wonderful God You are. Amen.