Sometimes I think Peter was a bumbling idiot. He missed obvious things. He did silly and hurtful things. And he said some really ridiculous things.
Jesus had led Peter, John, and James up a high mountain to pray. When Jesus’ glory is revealed to him, and when Moses and Elijah appear (These two, by the way, have been gone from the scene for hundreds of years), Peter says to Jesus, “It’s good for us to be here; let’s build three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
Hadn’t he been following Jesus on the way? Hadn’t he witnesses Jesus’ care for the sick and the suffering? Hadn’t he watched Jesus confront those in power on behalf of those who really needed help? And maybe more to the point, what did Peter think they were going to eat and drink on top of that lonely, isolated peak without any resources? And where was he going to sleep?
There was a reason Jesus had taken his friends to this mountaintop in the first place; to pray. They went to experience peace and isolation. Jesus chose a place away from his ministry, known to be close to God, to rest, renew, and gain some perspective.
While there, they are visited by Israel’s greatest prophet, the one God chose to lead people from slavery into freedom, and by the presence of God in a cloud!
Now, I like to think that I’m not like Peter at all. I like to think that if this were to happen to me, I would understand what’s happening, react appropriately, and say eloquent, empowering things. I like to think that the experience of meeting Jesus glorified, Elijah, Moses, and the voice of God from a cloud would embolden me and empower my ministry.
But maybe I’m more like Peter than I care to admit. I like my comfort zone. I like to revel in great experiences. When I’m on vacation, my favorite parts are the beginning and the middle; I hate the end.
But God calls us to the places where life and relationship are happening. God calls us to accompany one another, to care for one another. God calls us to enter into the joys and the messes of other people’s lives, bearing a word of grace, a shoulder to cry on, a presence to share the load. The purpose of the mountaintop is for the valley. Want more? Click here to readLuke 9:28-36.