"There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.............When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus." Matthew 17:1-3; 7-8
What was it that they saw on the mountaintop that so affected them?
As they headed up the mountain I wonder what they thought they were going to see?
I have a feeling they didn't expect to see what they saw!
When you think about a mountaintop experience with God, what is it that you want to see? Have you ever thought about that? Maybe you should.
Of course, I wasn't on the mountaintop so I can only speculate, but I'll tell you what I think they saw. I believe what they saw that so changed them was the holiness of God!
Why do I say that? What do I base that on?
First, the Word says they saw a brilliant light. What would cause such brilliance other than the pure radiance of a holy, sinless Presence! That brilliance is the light of pure love, the light of pure wisdom, the light of pure knowledge and the light of pure never-ending life! Those are the components of holiness and that is Who God is! As John wrote later in His Gospel, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind."
Second, the record says that His clothes became was white as the light. To be that white and shine that brightly denotes the absence of sin. What is holiness except the absence of sin? Doesn't it remind you of another time John saw Jesus, "The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire, His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance."
You may disagree with me if you wish, and you may be right. But I think what they saw on that mountaintop was the holiness of God!
After three years of following Jesus and sharing in His life and ministry they had seen His power in countless manifestations. They had witnessed healings! They had seen the dead raised! They had seen water turn into wine and a lunch turned into an all-you-can eat buffet! They had seen Him walk on water and they watched Him still a storm. You would think that with all those experiences with His power, they wouldn't have needed a mountaintop experience.
But they did.
I would venture to guess that when you think of a mountaintop experience you envision a manifestation of His power. You long for that. You pray for it. Sometimes you even fast for it. But is that what you really need? Does God still have to prove His power to you?
And if you did receive that mountop experience and if God DID show you a supernatural manifestation of His power - then what? Would you believe more or would you cry out for another one? How would you be different coming down the mountain that you were climbing it? Would you be different in your hidden places that you were on the high place?
Isn't holiness what you really need? Would His purity be a better answer to your problems than His power? Everyone looks good in the high places. Wouldn't it be great if the mountaintop experiences made you different in the hidden places of your life?
When you long for a mountaintop experience you had best know what you are asking God for. And if it is not a fresh vision of His holiness - do you really need it? And if you are not ready to receive His holiness - do you really want it?