Stop, Look, and Listen

Here I want to give you some thoughts from Luke 9:28-36. The passage is about the transfiguration where Peter witnesses Jesus in a glorious appearance with Moses and Elijah. Moses and Elijah are the most notable prophets in the Old Testament; Moses brought the Law of Moses, contained in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Elijah was considered the greatest prophet, or at least the most notable, after Moses. Here Jesus was visited by Elijah and Moses, these two giants of God’s prophets. 

Peter is witnessing all this and realizes something: Jesus is on par with Moses and Elijah–which is like the (second) greatest view of a prophet a Jew could have. With this new revelation, Peter excitedly throws out his new proposition: three temples! (“Tent” is, in my opinion, referring to the Tabernacle, which is synonymous to the Temple.) Could you imagine that? Three temples being erected to replace the single Temple in Jerusalem. One temple is Moses’, one temple is Elijah’s, and the other temple is Jesus’. This was a horrible idea. This would border on worshipping men and is essentially a new religion. It is just a silly idea really. Thankfully, God clarified that Peter was wrong, “not knowing what he said”–this is the theme of Peter in the Gospels.  

But in Peter’s plan it shows what he thought of Jesus: on par of Elijah and Moses. Is that accurate, though? Isn’t Jesus above Elijah and Moses? Jesus is the Son of God; within Jesus is everything that is God (Col 2:9); everything that makes the Father God makes Jesus God (Jhn. 1:1). This is something Peter does not understand yet. Peter is trying to divide his attention between the three prophets when God tells Peter to focus on Jesus, “And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, ‘This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!’” 

Good listening is like tuning in a radio station. For good results, you can listen to only one station at a time. Trying to listen to my wife while reading a news article is like trying to receive two radio stations at the same time. I end up hearing half of what she says to her frustration. Listening requires a choice of where I place my attention. To tune into my partner, I must first choose to put away all that will divide my attention. That might mean laying down my laptop, moving away from the dishes in the sink, putting down the book I’m reading, setting aside my projects. 

Peter’s attention was divided between Jesus, Elijah, and Moses, but he needed to know that Jesus deserves his full attention! Jesus deserves our full attention. Listen to him undividedly. Put away all other sources and listen to Jesus. You may be listening to Jesus, but are you listening to him undividedly with your full attention? Hear God’s words and learn Peter’s lesson: Jesus is God’s Son, His Chosen One, listen to Him!

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