Scripture: Luke 9:28-37 (ESV)
Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray. And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white. And behold, two men were talking with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep, but when they became fully awake they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. And as the men were parting from him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah”—not knowing what he said. As he was saying these things, a cloud came and overshadowed them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!” And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and told no one in those days anything of what they had seen. On the next day, when they had come down from the mountain, a great crowd met him.
We love mountaintop experiences. They give us a taste of what we were made for--life embraced by the reality and revelation of God. We intuit that we were made for the mountain. But discipleship means following Jesus, when he leads us up the mountain but also when he leads us down. Usually, we love following him up, and we resist following him down. It's tempting to make getting up onto the mountain of glory the goal of our discipleship.
Are you trying to force your way up onto the mountain, instead of being attentive to the ways in which Jesus is leading you down into the valley, toward the cross? How might the Lord be inviting you to take up the cross in the valley: parenting, practicing hospitality with neighbors, finding a way to serve a coworker, befriending an awkward classmate, working on your marriage, apologizing to someone you’ve wronged, forgiving someone who has wronged you, maybe even finding a practical, concrete way to love an enemy?
In one sense, the Christian life is not a journey from mountaintop experience to mountaintop experience: Jesus leads us into the valley. But in another way, the Christian journey is all about the mountaintops: the mount of transfiguration, the mount of crucifixion, and the mount of the new creation. Stick with Jesus. Listen to him. Let him lead you up the mountain of revelation. Let him lead you off the mountain. Let him lead you to the cross. Let him lead you to glory.