What a penetrating question! Our Lord’s words often hit home for us when He speaks in the simplest way. In spite of the fact that we know who Jesus is, He asks, “Do you also want to go away?” We must continually maintain an adventurous attitude toward Him, despite any potential personal risk.
“From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more” (John 6:66). They turned back from walking with Jesus; not into sin, but away from Him. Many people today are pouring their lives out and working for Jesus Christ, but are not really walking with Him. One thing God constantly requires of us is a oneness with Jesus Christ. After being set apart through sanctification, we should discipline our lives spiritually to maintain this intimate oneness. When God gives you a clear determination of His will for you, all your striving to maintain that relationship by some particular method is completely unnecessary. All that is required is to live a natural life of absolute dependence on Jesus Christ. Never try to live your life with God in any other way than His way. And His way means absolute devotion to Him. Showing no concern for the uncertainties that lie ahead is the secret of walking with Jesus.
Peter saw in Jesus only someone who could minister salvation to him and to the world. But our Lord wants us to be fellow laborers with Him.
In John 6:70 Jesus lovingly reminded Peter that he was chosen to go with Him. And each of us must answer this question for ourselves and no one else: “Do you also want to go away?”
A Permanent Reality
From: Streams in the Desert
—F. B. Meyer
—C. H. Spurgeon
From: Through the Bible
Numbers 14:28, 33 (NIV) 28So tell them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the LORD, I will do to you the very things I heard you say:
33Your children will be shepherds here for forty years, suffering for your unfaithfulness, until the last of your bodies lies in the desert.
The nation had come right up to the boundaries of the Promised Land and been afraid to trust God. They wanted to kill Moses and Joshua and elect a new leader to take them back to Egypt. Their lament was, “If only we had died in Egypt or in this wilderness.” So God gave them their request. They wished they had died in the wilderness, and their sentence is exactly what they asked for. That is often the sentence God gives man, what he demands. If we could just have faith that what He has planned for us is so much better than our own ideas, we would move forward into the Promised Land. Instead, many demand death in the desert.
That is a sad thing, and yet it is what we asked for. But the really sad thing is that our children suffer from our faithless choices. While we are wandering in the wilderness, they are wandering with us. Instead of settling them down in the Promised Land, and giving them a better start in their life, we leave the battles ahead to them. Faith and the fruit of it is the greatest inheritance you could possibly leave your children. A nice cave in the desert near a spring does not compare.
How is your life affecting your children? Are you beginning a legacy of faith or building a foundation for them on shifting sand? Our lives affect so much more than our own daily comfort. What are you sowing?
Meditation: What kind of spiritual legacy will I leave my children?
Matthew 17:2, 4-5 (NIV) 2There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. 4Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters–one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”5While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”
Scholars struggle with the location of this mountain. They believed it was Mount Tabor until an archeological discovery showed that people lived on Tabor at that time. Remember, they were in Caesarea Philippi immediately preceding this. Many now believe it was Mount Hermon. The prophets, Moses and Elijah, talked with Jesus, and Jesus’ glory was revealed. Moses may be representing the Law and Elijah the prophets. Jesus came to fulfill the Law and the prophets.
What they spoke of is a mystery. Peter, never at a loss for something to say, suggested he build three shelters for them so they could stay awhile. Mountain top experiences are short and powerful times of encouragement to strengthen us for the return to the valley. We aren’t meant to stay up there. Our work is down here among humanity. It is interesting that Jesus warned them of His death before He allowed them to see His glory.
The only other words recorded from this experience are that of Almighty God. God repeated what He had said at Jesus’ baptism, only He added one more sentence. “Listen to Him!” The Jews understood a cloud to be the presence of God. They had the story of the cloud on Mount Sinai. Notice the passage says, “while he was still speaking”. God interrupted Peter. Peter had nothing important to say, but Jesus does. This man, Jesus, is the Son of God. He is loved of God. His actions are pleasing to God. You better listen to Him! That is what Moses prophesied 1500 years earlier in Deuteronomy 18:15 (NIV) The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him. God said it through Moses, and then He spoke directly to them. Listen to Jesus!
Consider: We often wish God would speak to us in an audible voice. I think if He did, you would hear the same message. He has been speaking it throughout the ages. “Listen to Jesus!” Take the time to hear Him today.