As I sit with Bible and commentaries before me I prepare for tonight's Wednesday night Bible Study. I have been teaching through Luke for more than 9 months and we have finally come to the Mount of Transfiguration in Luke 9.
In reading the passage again I am reminded how difficult it is to prepare a lesson that is so frequently read or well known. That is because we preachers like to end a study with a statement like "and this is how such an experience may appear in our own lives." We stretch too make events in Scripture apply to our lives. However, I have come to conclude that not all passages are meant to be read for anything but reverence and awe.
How many preachers have tried to somehow relate the agony of Abraham as he straps his young son to the altar on Mount Moriah to some common experience of life? What human endeavor could ever match such a passionate story? Or how many teachers have attempted to relate their own baptism to the baptism of Jesus by John in the Jordan River? Even those of us who have been privileged to baptize and be baptized in the Jordan know the vast difference between our experience and that of Christ. We did not have the heavens open and hear God affirm our identity. There was no dove descending from above in my experience.
Now I sit with the amazing picture of Christ's transfiguration in Luke 9 before me. To what does this relate? I know many messages have been preached about descending from a mountaintop experience into the valley below for service. That is a valid point and well deserving our consideration, but to minimize this beautiful story to that is to trivialize the scene. Other passages may be used for similar application without doing harm to those texts.
No, I believe some texts are worthy of pondering without the need of reducing them to daily applications. The Red Sea parting before the Israelites is so much bigger than just God providing a convenient parking spot at a crowded mall. The betrayal of Judas is much more than a harsh word written about you on someone's Facebook post. We need not reduce the picture Jesus paints of the impossibility of a camel passing through the eye of a needle to the necessity of such an animal dropping to its knees and crawling through a small city gate. No, the ridiculousness of the word picture leads to Christ's statement that "what is impossible with man is a possibility with God." (Matthew 19:26)
So ponder the glory of Christ's garments glowing whiter and purer than any launderer on earth could achieve. Meditate on two prophets from the Old Testament appearing within a rock's throw to speak to their Creator and their Redeemer of His death. Now wait and listen to the voice of the Father as He affirms His Son from heaven where Moses and Elijah had only recently departed and where Jesus will soon return.
Some things are far too great for us to cover with the cloak of common application. Some events should remain uncovered so we may see the brilliant light of God's glory before us.