“When they lifted their eyes,
they saw no one but Jesus only.”
So we’re studying Matthew in the high school Bible class that my husband teaches. I help out there too, so I’m studying it, too and his assistant teacher made a very interesting point a few weeks ago. It applied to the chapter we were studying, but since then I have found myself thinking of it in other places in the Bible, too.
She used the idea of a remote control ~ play, pause, rewind, etc ~ to illustrate the things that were happening in the chapter, and the way our brains sometimes react to things. Well, here: I’ll illustrate.
It was Matthew 17, which starts off with the transfiguration. Jesus had gone up to a high mountain to pray; to hit Pause in the busyness of His life, to talk to His Father. An excellent reminder to us to do the same.
Peter, James and John had accompanied Him, and on that high mountain, He was transfigured before them. “His face shone like the sun and His clothes became as white as the light.” And then Moses and Elijah appeared to them. The transfiguration itself was God hitting the Fast Forward button: the disciples were allowed to see Jesus not as Man, as they were accustomed, but as Lord… as they and we will one day see Him.
But then Moses and Elijah arrived on the scene ~ Rewind. Moses represents the Law and Elijah represents the Prophets, and the Old Testament is unified with the New. I loved the reminder that Jesus did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it. And that He was the One of whom the prophets prophesied! God’s very poetic, isn’t He?
Now, Peter’s response to this glorious vision, was to suggest that they build tabernacles there ~ one for each of his heroes. He wanted to hit the Stop button and just remain there in that experience. Our teacher talked about how, when we have a “mountain experience” with God, we sometimes want to stay in that place. But we can’t hit Stop. We have things we need to do. Things He needs us to do.
In the next passage, they have returned down the mountain, where the multitude met them, asking for attention and healing. Jesus, of course, complied. This is the Play button. He was where the Father wanted Him, doing what He was supposed to be doing, serving and healing. Good lesson, there.
In verse 22, after the healing of a boy with seizures, Jesus pushed Fast Forward again. He told his disciples that He would be betrayed and killed, but on the third day He would be raised up. They had trouble handling the information, but they needed to know the truth. As do we. How often do we think about what’s to come? When’s the last time you read the Book of Revelation?
And then the last part of the chapter is the Pharisees wanting to know if Jesus was paying His taxes. Jesus responded by sending Peter to catch a fish. He told him that inside that fish there would be a coin, which Peter should use to pay the temple tax. It was ludicrous, of course, for the Son of God to pay a tax on the house of God. But Jesus came to fulfill the law, as He said. He was living in the now. Living in Play.
I love the lesson. Be where you are, and be doing what you’re supposed to be doing. Live the life He has planned for you, in obedience with His commands. But remember that there’s a time for looking back; for Rewind. That’s why He gave us the Old Testament. The history and the prophecies are ours to learn from.
There’s value in Fast Forward, too. Our idea of Fast Forward is generally about anxiety and what if? But if we’re going to Fast Forward, it should be all the way. Looking to the fulfillment of His promises and the prophecies. He’s coming again, and we should be looking forward to it.
And then of course, there’s Pause. That time that Jesus took, to go off by Himself and pray. How much more do we need that? I know life requires a lot of go, go, go, but rest in wisdom and knowledge or found in Him and in His Word, but we have to take the time. And He waits for us to do so. He is Emmanuel. Joy!