"...Jesus gave them orders not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead." Mark 9:9b (NIV)
I was reading in My Utmost for His Highest (Oswald Chambers) yesterday about the Transfiguration (recorded in Mark 9). Jesus leads Peter, James, and John up a high mountain. Mark 9:2 says that "after six days He led them up..." I know that the number six represents the human aspect, whereas seven represents the number of perfection. Thought that was interesting...keep that in mind.
So there they go, following Him UP the high mountain...if only they knew what awaited them! After the struggle of climbing treacherous, unchartered territory while following Jesus towards the top, they finally reached the mountaintop and caught a glimpse of Jesus in all of His glory...not only Jesus...but He was conversing with two prophets of old...Elijah and Moses. Peter was "sore afraid." Yet, even while being scared to death, he realizes something.. "It is GOOD for us to be here." He knew what they were witnessing was GOOD! What he said next revealed the desire of his heart. "Let's pitch three tents (shelters or habitations) for You, Elijah and Moses." Next thing, a cloud envelopes them, and a Voice calls out, "This is My Son, whom I love. LISTEN TO HIM." Then SUDDENLY, as fast as this transpired, everything they witnessed vanished ..."all except Jesus." They could no longer perceive the glorious wonder and splendor of Jesus! No longer could they see Him conversing with the prophets. . .all that remained was "just Jesus"....Which makes me wonder, could this explain their immediate descent? Hmmm. They are "coming down" from the high ecstasy of having caught a glimpse of the Lord in His glory. When that glory has "been hidden again," they COME DOWN. Don't we all though?
But look.....two words: "Except Jesus." "They no longer saw anyone, "except Jesus." Seriously..it's AS IF He were "not enough" or "was just the 'leftovers.'" (I'm saying that with total respect, but to hopefully prove a point.) Bear with me: Most of us so ridiculously crave the HIGH and WONDERFUL, "I-Feel-Good," SHOUTING, HANDS-RAISING, LIGHTS-GLEAMING, ANGELS-SINGING, "JESUS-SEEING" moments...that when all the GLITTER AND GLAM DISAPPEARS, and the only "Thing" left is JESUS...we RAPIDLY COME DOWN! No longer do we possess a sense of standing on Holy Ground, so we put on our stinky sneakers, to tromp through the normal dirty "blah" of the every-day.
Sometimes the Lord leads us UP to experience Him, and catch a glimpse of His glory...to taste and SEE that HE IS GOOD! We are literally exhilarated by this sudden ONENESS with our Creator and Savior! We LONG to stay there...abide and shelter Him, in essence, "preserve Him" in this "Glorious State." But the Lord knows we can not remain there. We must descend. But why?
The answer lies within the Lord's following command: "Do NOT speak of what you have seen UNTIL the Son of Man has risen!" Continue reading in Mark 9 and you'll see that Peter, James and John questioned the Lord about Elijah, to which He followed with an answer. They are seeking, learning, listening, being enlightened and growing, on their way "down."
Also, they obeyed the Lord. They did not speak to anyone about what they saw... however, they did "talk amongst themselves" about "what's this 'Risen from the dead' all about anyway?" They discussed amongst themselves what Jesus said to do: WAIT TIL HE had RISEN, even though they had no clue what that meant.
They are on their way down to the "basic, every-day, ordinary, run of the mill service and following the Lord." Down in the valley....nothing extraordinary. It is during THESE times when we, like Peter, James and John, will be taught the need for our SINFUL nature to DIE in order for the Son to be "risen in our hearts." As we carry that cross of SELF every day, dying to self, The Son of Man begins to RISE within our hearts and flow forth from us. His power RISES and LIVES within US! The sooner we die to SELF, the SOONER HE WILL RISE again within our hearts. His life becomes evident in ours, and we then (and only then) have the power and freedom to speak of what we've seen.
How long is it going to take for us to realize "what Jesus is talking about" when He says, "Don't speak til I have risen!" ??? Six days....? Forty years??? No matter how long, it's probably TOO long. We humans tend to get in the way, and hinder the Lord's work in our own hearts..thus dragging out the lessons we SHOULD have learned a long time ago--and subsequently rendering us powerless as an effective witness. The sooner we understand His COMMAND to Recognize Him as Lord of Lords, Son of God, VERY GOD of VERY GOD, Messiah, King of Kings, Master and Creator, Shepherd, Lamb of God, Lion of Judah, and LISTEN TO HIM; BE QUIET; die to SELF---then LET HIM LIVE and RISE from within our hearts, the sooner HIS POWER will be evident in our lives, and we can STAND AND SPEAK on the grounds of HIS AUTHORITY. "If I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto Me."
So be it, dear Father. I admit I've wanted to linger on the mountaintops. I know there've been times that I've even spoken before I've allowed YOUR SON to rise in my life! Please forgive me! As our Shepherd leads us through the UPS and downs of life, may we catch a glimpse of Your glory on the mountaintop, and come down graciously, so that YOU, then, may be LIFTED UP and DRAW all men unto You! In Jesus' Name, Amen.