Print this Page

Clinging to this life

After six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was metamorphosed before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. And, look and see, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it’s good that we’re here. If you wish, I’ll make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” He was still speaking when, look and see, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is the loved-in-action Son of mine, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were exceedingly fearful. But Jesus came and held onto them, saying, “Rise up, and don’t fear.” Lifting up their eyes, they discerned no one else save Jesus only. As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, “Tell no one what you have seen until the Son of Man is raised from the dead.” The disciples asked him, “Then why do the scribes say that first Elijah must come?” He answered, “Elijah indeed is come, and he will restore everything. But I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but did to him precisely what they wanted. So also the Son of Man will certainly suffer at their hands.” Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them of John the Baptist. Matthew 17: 1-13
 
Matthew’s eye-witness biography of Jesus Christ (Christ is Greek for ‘Anointed One’) makes it clear that there was a turning point in Jesus’ life on earth when he began to teach that he must be given away to the religious and the powerful and must be killed – and on the third day be raised.

What happened was that Peter, the fisherman disciple, told him not to teach that he must die. Jesus said Peter was thinking like a man – not like God. 

Do you, like Peter, think like a man - clinging to life? It’s the natural thing, isn’t it? 

 
.

‘A dead man cannot assist in his own resurrection.’ (W G T Shedd, theologian, 1820-1894)
Natural, yes, but, when one thinks about it, this life we’re clinging to is mainly painful and sad. This is a corrupt and harm-full world – a world where others pursue their own wants and wishes, desires and addictions, and harm us so as to get their way. It’s a world where some huge expanses of water have been so polluted by man that they’ll never recover. It’s a world where the rich own all of the resources of wealth and over a billion people are hungry. 

A great deal is spoken about “sustainability” today and about the means of avoiding further damage on earth. Is there no way to bring about a restoration – a permanent restoration of earth and of me? Unless people change fraud, robbery, murder and war will spoil the earth and its people more and more. Back in AD 30, Peter clung to this life – despite what it was ….

During Jesus’ amazing transfiguration a voice from the cloud said “This is the loved-in-action Son of mine, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”  Listen to him when he says that he must die – and be raised on the third day. From that, it seems to be the case that it was the will both of Jesus and of God his father above that he must die. But why? And why must Peter die? 

During the descent from that mountain Jesus says “Tell no one what you have seen until the Son of Man is raised from the dead.” Once he has risen, they can then make known what had taken place. Peter, James and John knew that their Jewish Scriptures stated that Elijah (alive around 850 BC) would return to earth - before the resurrection of all human beings – to restore everything. They ask Jesus for an explanation. 

Jesus tells them Elijah – who was a key restorer of Israel – was an early parallel of the final Messiah (Messiah is Hebrew for ‘Anointed One’). It was the final Messiah, who “will restore everything.” Yes, and he “is come”.  

Jesus then says that already, a few months earlier, “they” have done to his own forerunner (John the Baptist who was killed) exactly what "they" wished to do. “They” will do the same to him (Jesus). He will die at “their” hands because “they” want to kill him also – to get “their” way.
 
.

‘Let them pretend what they please, the true reason why any despise the new birth is because they hate a new life.’ (John Owen, Welsh theologian, 1616-1683) 
So he must be killed – it’s what “they” wanted - what “they” wished. Jesus wanted to die. The voice from heaven confirmed this as what God wanted. Not Peter, he was clinging to this life.

Come to think of it, isn’t that what “they” were all doing. “They” wanted him dead so that they could get and keep what "they" wanted. Nothing changes. Clinging exclusively to this life precludes the first stage of the restoration of everything – the restoration of human beings.
 
Sinner Syvret

Email this newsletter to a friend
*All mandatory fields must be filled in

Friend`s name
Friend`s email address *
Your name
Your email address *
Message

Send comment
*All mandatory fields must be filled in

Your name *
Your email address *
Your comment *