Jesus took three of the disciples with Him onto a mountain. Out of the twelve, Peter, James and John were chosen to witness something spectacular – something that they could not speak or write about until after the resurrection.
On that mountain Jesus was transfigured. That simply means His appearance changed. Mark writes of this event, “… his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus.” (Mark 9:3-4)
What an incredible sight! Peter, James and John got a glimpse of the glory of Jesus. They had seen the human side of Him day after day. They had glimpsed His glory in the works that He did and the power of His teaching, but now they were seeing His eternal nature and it was glorious!
And to make matters even more astounding, Moses and Elijah stood with Jesus. We can speculate on their conversation. We can speculate on a lot of things about this anything but routine encounter, but that Jesus wanted His closest disciples to see it we have no doubt. He brought them for that very purpose. He needed their eyes to begin to open by seeing that this Jesus whom they followed was not just an extraordinary man.
Impetuous Peter couldn’t help himself. He interjects himself into the conversation offering to pitch tents for Jesus, Moses and Elijah so that, we assume, they could hang around a while longer. What I had overlooked in many previous readings of this passage was a simple explanation of Peter’s interruption in verse 9 – “For he did not know what to say, for they were terrified.” Peter didn’t know what to say or do, but saying and doing nothing didn’t appear to be an option in his book.
Perhaps I would have done the same. Perhaps you would, too. But as we look on this event and understand its significance, a better option reveals itself. Sometimes is okay to say and do nothing but to quietly, reverently be in awe of the person and work of Jesus.
Sometimes saying and doing nothing is the perfect response. Just soak it in. Allow yourself to be caught up in the moment. Surrender to the awe that wants to engulf you. As the psalmist expressed it, “Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)