No one except Jesus

Sunday service, Detlef Stegen, 14 February 2016

Matthew 17:1-8
After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. 3 Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.
4 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.”
5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”
6 When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. 7 But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” 8 When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.
This is an amazing portion of Jesus taking with Him a select group of disciples. We see that Jesus has His time. It was six days after Jesus spoke to His disciples about suffering and death (Matt 16:21-28). As he told His brothers that, “My time is not yet here; for you any time will do” (John 7:6).
Sometimes it’s a time of preparation, where God prepares us for something He has in mind. But our eyes need to be fixed on Him even in days that may seem dark and full of tribulation. It’s times of testing and after the testing He can reveal His glory in ways we have never thought possible.
Think of Naomi and her husband. In a time of drought they left Bethlehem for Moab, because of the drought in Israel, because there they could find food to survive. Naomi maybe didn’t have much of a choice, but her husband decided to go there. There her sons married two women from Moab, Ruth and Orpah. But as time went on, her husband and both her sons died and she was left alone. She could only confess and say that God has taken everything from her. But when she heard that the Lord had been gracious to Israel, she told her daughters-in-law that she was going back and urged them to stay. But then there was Ruth, a Moabite girl, who saw her opportunity. She said “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me” (Ruth 1:16-17).
She forsook everything because of Christ. Maybe you remember a time when you met with the Lord and had this mind and spirit of Ruth. Is it still the same today? Or has the way become too tough for you, and circumstances have become impossible?
Where are those that are like Ruth, who would forsake all for Christ? Should not your heart cling to this God of Naomi. Eventually the husband of Ruth became the great-grandfather of David. And through her faithfulness Ruth was grafted into the line of our Saviour.
How is it that Jesus could choose Peter and James and John? Are you longing to be a disciple of the Lord, that Jesus takes you with Him?
At the sea of Galilee Jesus said to these three, Peter, James and John, follow Me, and immediately they left their nets and followed Him (Matthew 4:18-22).
Will you do the same, that when He calls you immediately answer His call? Peter had a heart for the Lord from then on. Even when others were critical yet he remained faithful.
Test your lives today. Are you available that Jesus can take you with Himself as He did with the three disciples? Is Jesus first in your life? Today is the day to bow, that Jesus can save you from your sin, and your selfishness. So that you can come out of that, and when you lift your eyes you see Jesus only. Do you want to see His glory, His light shining in your life? A life where His will is done in your life. Where you can give your plans for your family, even your children into God’s hand. You want the best for your children in this world, but do you wish the best for them in the world to come? Be careful, as His disciples, that you seek Jesus only.
We also read that Jesus said that “Elijah comes and will restore all things. But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands” (Matthew 17:11-12). Do you do as you please? Then the Son of man will also suffer at your hands. Maybe you talk as you please and don’t realise that the Son of man is suffering at your hands. You’re quick to give your opinion, and you don’t realise that it’s not just words but seeds that one day will cause the Son of man to suffer.
Jesus remembers what you said when you were young. Do you remember what you said when you were young? He planted you as a choice vine, to bear good fruit. How is it then with you, if you bear bad fruit? In the service of the Lord, is it Jesus only or are you concerned about your own status?
Remember the song that says, turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of the earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace. And Psalm 42:1, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God”.
Let us not allow our thirst to stop, our lamp to go out, our oil to finish and Jesus to vanish before our eyes. Listen to the call of the Lord and go with Him and your heart will be filled and satisfied.