Six days later Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, and brought them to the top of a very high mountain. He was transformed in front of them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as light. Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Jesus. Peter reacted to all of this by saying to Jesus, “Lord, it’s good that we’re here. If you want, I’ll make three shrines: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, look, a bright cloud overshadowed them. A voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son whom I dearly love. I am very pleased with him. Listen to him!” Hearing this, the disciples fell on their faces, filled with awe. But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus. As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, “Don’t tell anybody about the vision until the Human One is raised from the dead.” The disciples asked, “Then why do the legal experts say that Elijah must first come?” Jesus responded, “Elijah does come first and will restore all things. In fact, I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they didn’t know him. But they did to him whatever they wanted. In the same way the Human One[b] is also going to suffer at their hands.” Then the disciples realized he was telling them about John the Baptist (Matthew 17:1-13, Common English Bible).
Just about all of us have had those moments when you just don’t know what to say in a given situation. It might be that someone has shocked us with some news that has left us speechless. It might be that someone does something unbelievable and we are dumbfounded. It might even be that we are just out of things to say.
Peter, James and John found themselves in the situation where someone did something unbelievable. In this case it was Jesus. First of all, his clothes became dazzling white. Do you remember the commercials for various bleach products who talk about how white they make your laundry? Yeah, they only wish. The Scripture says it was brighter than any bleach could make them.
That was followed up by another amazing event, two guys showed up that had been dead for centuries, Moses and Elijah. I am not sure how James, John and Peter knew who these two were. After all, the digital camera was still many centuries away! However they knew it, they did know.
Imagine yourself in the place of these three. If we are living the story, it would probably be a speechless moment. How do you explain something that can’t be explainable? Some of us are a lot like Peter in this story. We might not know what to say, but we would give it a shot.
Peter’s answer to “what to say when you don’t know what to say” was, “Lord it is a good thing we are here. Let us build to shrines (shelters, tabernacles, memorials, dwellings, booths, places), one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”
For his part, Jesus doesn’t respond to Peter’s idea. After God instructs the three that Jesus is His beloved Son and that they should listen to him, Jesus took them down from the mountain.
Jesus’ lack of a response gives me an idea of what we should say when we don’t know what to say and I am one who really needs to learn from that. I find that I am far too much like Peter. I want to say something, even when I don’t know what to say.
I have learned in the past few years that silence is important. We need the time and the quiet if we want to hear the voice of God. That just might mean, when we don’t know what to say, it could be a clue to say nothing at all.
What do you say when you don’t know what to say?
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Joy and Thanksgiving,
Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved