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Matthew 17:1-21
A Mountaintop Experience

A Mountaintop Experience

Matthew 17:1-21

Have you ever had a mountaintop experience with God? Our natural tendency is to hold on to it - to freeze that moment and never let it go because there’s a valley at the bottom of that mountain. The disciples learned those mountaintop experiences prepare us for living in the valleys where fruit grows, where God develops us. This scene on the mountaintop reminds us that God doesn’t want us to build tabernacles in the place of glory when the world is in flames.


I.    Let’s Stay Here:

a.    Peter can’t contain Himself any longer and blurts out in Matthew 17:4, “It’s good we are here. Let’s build three tents….” He’s saying, “We don’t need to go any further in this journey. No suffering, no cross. Let’s just stay here. You glorified. You shining. Forget the rest of the world. Let’s just camp out here and never leave this place.”

b.    And we all have a tendency to do this. As this world grows darker, there is a tendency to want to withdraw into our own subculture instead of realizing that there is a world in need out there. God doesn’t want us to build a Christian city on this earth. He wants us to reach the world with the gospel. We must come down and live this Christian life in a fallen world.


II.    I’m Tired, and This is Awkward:

a.    Why did Peter say, “It’s good we are here. Let’s build three tents. One for Jesus. One for Moses. And one for Elijah.”  Luke tells us Peter was half asleep. How much do we miss out on because of spiritual slumber when God wants to speak to us through His Word? Like the disciples, we can miss out on what God wants to do in and through us. (Romans 13:11) We need to be awake. We need to be alert and vigilant. 

b.    Mark’s gospel says Peter did not know what else to say. He’s half asleep when this amazing moment happens. And he blurts out, “Lord, it’s good that we are here.” That’s so awkward! He probably wanted to say something profound but blurts this out. And then God the Father speaks from heaven, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to Him.” Whom the Lord loves, He rebukes and chastens. When God takes the time to show you what you’re doing is wrong, it’s because He loves you.


III.    Coming Down the Mountain:

a.    They had to come down from the mountain, and so do we. And waiting for them is a demon-possessed child, and they could not do anything about it. The day after seeing the deity of Jesus, they were powerless to help this poor boy. We’re no different. We can be on a mountaintop one moment and down in the valley the next if we don’t guard ourselves.

b.    It’s not more mountaintop experiences we need in our Christian life. It’s more everyday obedience. Walking by faith and not by sight or feeling. These disciples couldn’t understand why they weren’t able to cast the demon out of this child. Jesus said, “Because of your unbelief.” Or, “Your littleness of faith. When you face those mountain-sized problems in life, you need to have faith. And Jesus was saying to the disciples, “Your faith needs to grow.” So, we’re going to have those mountaintop experiences in life. But we cannot live there. At some point, we must come down and walk by faith.