Devotion for February 6-8, 2018

“And Peter said to Jesus, ‘Rabbi, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.’ For he did not know what to say, for they were terrified.” (Mark 9:5-6)

Do you have a happy place? A place that you like to imagine or go to in your mind when you are worried or upset? Is there a place that you’ve lived in, or visited, or simply seen on TV that you would consider to be ideal, the best of all places to go? Maybe it’s a mountain or a beach. Maybe it’s sitting on the porch with a loved one. We all have places that we would consider a “happy place.”

This Sunday is the Transfiguration of Our Lord. We hear the story of Jesus taking His disciples Peter, James, and John up to a high mountain. When they are there, Jesus is changed. His face and clothes are glowing a brilliant white. And the disciples see two saints from the Old Testament–Moses and Elijah–speaking with Jesus. They even heard the voice of God the Father. It must have seemed to them like they were in heaven.

Heaven is the ultimate happy place. It is a place free from pain and suffering, free from sin and any of its effects. Heaven is a place to be together with the saints and all who have died in the Lord, and with God Himself. It’s a place of beauty, joy, life, and rest. Who wouldn’t want to stay there forever?

Unfortunately, the disciples can’t stay up on the mountain, though. Jesus quickly leads them back down to the “real world” of everyday life. Jesus is on His way to another mountain, Mt. Calvary. On this mountain Jesus will be nailed to a cross, and He will die. This will be a place of darkness and death, the abandonment of God. This place will be Hell on earth.

Jesus climbs this second mountain for you. Jesus experiences Hell for you, so that you need not worry or fear Hell any more. Through Jesus’ death, the power of Hell is destroyed, and you have forgiveness and the promise of everlasting life in heaven, in the presence of God forever.

Next week we will begin the season of Lent and follow Jesus on His way to Mt. Calvary. As we remember once more His suffering and death, remember why He goes through all of this, so that He will bear you with Him to the joys of heaven itself.

Prayer: Jesus, thank you for revealing your glory to the disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration, and for continuing on to Calvary for me. Grant me faith to trust in You, so that I will one day join with the whole company of heaven to dwell in Your glorious presence forever. Amen.