11/18/2013 12:00:00 PM
Sometimes, I think Peter gets a bad rap.
Sure, Jesus must have gotten more frustrated with him than the other disciples. So impulsive, and not the most people-oriented person. But he remains a model for how to be sold out for Jesus. And if you’ve got that, we can work on the rest as far as I’m concerned.
I’ve been thinking about Peter this past week, as I reflect on the Worldwide Miracle, Healing and Victory Prayer Cloth
service I hosted recently at World Harvest Church. It was a true mountaintop experience for myself and many others associated with this ministry. But just like Peter needed to come down from Mount Hermon after the Transfiguration, we need to move on to what’s next for us.
You probably know the story of the Transfiguration – there are accounts of it in Matthew 17 and Mark 9 as well as this version in Luke:
Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray. And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white. And behold, two men were talking with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep, but when they became fully awake they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. And as the men were parting from him, Peter said to Jesus, "Master, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah"— not knowing what he said. As he was saying these things, a cloud came and overshadowed them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, "This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!" And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and told no one in those days anything of what they had seen.
- Luke 9:28-36, ESV, emphasis added
Peter wanted to stay on the mountain. Who wouldn’t? He had seen things he had never seen before and would likely never see again. He wanted to physically dwell with Jesus and Moses and Elijah permanently. I can’t criticize Peter for that desire. But you and I know full well that there’s more to this life than mountaintop experiences. For one thing, we wouldn’t appreciate the mountaintop for long if we spent all our time there. And more importantly, there is a world waiting for us to show them the love of God the Father so they can have their own
mountaintop experiences. If we don’t show them how a relationship with Jesus Christ can change their lives, they’ll spend eternity without Him. And as you’ve probably heard me say often, the apex of all Christian endeavor must be to place the jewel of a soul in the crown of our Savior, that the Lamb who was slain may receive the reward of His suffering!
I loved everything about our Prayer Cloth service. Certainly there was satisfaction in seeing God accomplish three things that our critics said would never happen – the publication of “The Cross: One Man…One Tree…One Friday;”
the erection of a memorial to Calvary on our campus in Columbus; and the arrival of the brilliant international evangelist Reinhard Bonnke for our prayer cloth service. But it’s also been great to experience people’s reaction to the book and the memorial. And for this long-time admirer of Reinhard Bonnke, to be in the presence of such a sold-out servant was truly inspiring. We’re in a period of “afterglow” right now, where the feedback we’ve received into the ministry testifies to the impact the book, the memorial and the service have had on people across the country and around the world.
But by the time you read this, it will be time for us to move on to what God would have us do next. It will be time to come down from this particular mountaintop experience and serve a hurting world. Already, we are working on delivering relief to the victims of Typhoon Haiyan
, which has devastated the Philippines. There are people closer to home who will understand the love of Christ when we bless them with Thanksgiving meals, and later with Christmas gifts. Our fall semester at Valor Christian College
is coming to a close, and our students will be returning home to show their family and friends what God has done in them and to them and through them this past semester. And, of course, there are people who have yet to experience the message of “The Cross.” As reluctant as we may be to do the “next thing,” the fields are still white for harvest and we know we are to be among the laborers.
I have loved the past several weeks covering the release of this important new book, the construction of the Calvary memorial and the preparations for our worldwide prayer cloth service with Reinhard Bonnke. At times like these I have some understanding of what a professional athlete experiences when he or she claims to be “in the zone.” But most of our lives are not spent on the mountaintop. And that’s as it should be, because the work of the ministry takes place elsewhere.