“Six days later, Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John, and brought them up on a high mountain by themselves. And He was transfigured before them.” Mark 9:2
T0 many in America today Jesus Christ is a name used only to swear, others think of Him as a means to secure a blessing. Furthermore, in the latter case following His manner of life is seen as optional at best. He certainly is not regarded as Lord of the universe,
“For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus’ sake.” 2 Corinthians 4:5,
the standard by whom all men will be judged,
“I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom.” 2 Timothy 4:1,
and the one who will pour out His wrath upon all flesh,
“and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb.” Revelation 6:16.
Many say they follow Jesus but for all practical purposes He does not order their life choices.
To truly follow Jesus is to regard Him as more important than yourself, which means His revealed will as declared in the Bible becomes the marching orders for your life. When He said “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do,” referring to those charged with His death, He sealed the need for all His followers to do the same. Many such examples of His revealed will can be quoted, all of which go against our natural, sinful, and selfish inclinations.
The key to following Jesus is to see Him as rejected, crucified, and glorified in His coming kingdom. There is a direct correlation between seeing Jesus as the human sacrifice for sins and Divine sovereign of the universe. Matthew, Mark, and Luke in their gospels gave the account of Jesus teaching His disciples to deny themselves, (that is to regard His will as more important their own), take up their cross, (that is to be prepared to die if called upon to do so, which is a full commitment to Jesus), and follow Him, (that is learn and live by practice in accord with His revealed teachings). This teaching of Jesus to deny oneself is always followed by His transfiguration on the mountain before Peter, James, and John. Furthermore, 2 of the greatest men in the Old Testament (Moses and Elijah) were not recognized by the Father in that moment. Instead the emphasis of the Father was for them to hear His Son Jesus – and to hear only Him (Mark 9:7).
The mount of transfiguration is referred to by Peter in his 2nd letter,
“For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, "This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased"- and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.” 2 Peter 1:16-18.
At that time he made mention of the fact that the prophetic word is made sure by their eyewitness account. “So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention…” 2 Peter 1:19. Jesus the suffering servant and sacrifice for sins was revealed to these 3 disciples as the sovereign of the universe in His coming kingdom. There is only one Lord and Master of the universe and that is the God/man Jesus Christ.
The key to follow Jesus obediently is to see only Him! To see only Him is to go blind to the world. The Christian should and must follow the teachings of godly men who are godly because they exalt Jesus Christ as Lord. To follow anyone who does not exalt Jesus as Lord is to commit idolatry.
The lyrics of the song by Helen H Lemmel express this sentiment very well.
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
Once while driving through the mountains near Binghamton, NY I was suddenly blinded by the rising sun. The light was so bright that the mountains literally faded from my view. You know you are seeing Jesus when the world fades from your view in such a way that it loses its importance.
The word we render transfiguration in the Greek is the word metamorphosis; and the metamorphosis of Jesus is His transformation from the caterpillar of human servitude to the butterfly of Divine ruler. Here’s the really humbling thing about Jesus metamorphosis; even in His divine sovereignty He still serves as intercessor and High Priest (Hebrews 7). How then should we serve Him? Reluctantly? Or with reckless abandon?
Turn your eyes upon Jesus today and look full into His wonderful face and things of this life that seem so important and necessary will fade in the light of His sufficiency and grace. Turn your eyes upon Jesus and the cares of this life, its worries, trials, and troubles will grow strangely dim in the light of His love and overruling sovereignty.