When [the disciples] looked up they saw no one except Him—Jesus alone.
“Why send out a minnow when a whale will do?” This is what P.T. Barnum said as he re-invented the circus in the late 1800s and helped develop the concept of the three-ring circus we still have today. The idea was that more is always better to draw in crowds to the Big Top.
Many Christians feel the same way today. But God the Father told us long ago that it’s only Jesus in whom He’s well pleased and only Jesus that we need.
Peter had just gotten it right in chapter 16 of Matthew when Jesus asked, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter said, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Then less than a week later, Jesus took Peter, James, and John up to a high mountain to reveal His glory to them even more—and Peter started to lose focus.
At the top of the mountain, as the disciples watched, Jesus shed His earthly body and allowed the disciples to see His true glory. His face shined like the sun and His clothes became white as light. Then Moses and Elijah appeared and started talking to Jesus.
Peter, as he so often did, got caught up in the moment and blurted out, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If You wish, I will make three tents here, one for You and one for Moses and one for Elijah.”
Jesus was revealing His glory and Peter wanted to honor Moses, who represented the law, and Elijah, who represented the prophets.
Before we judge Peter too harshly, we need to ask ourselves if we do the same thing. Do we sometimes want to worship the Scripture or the law, which are there to point us to Jesus and our need for Him, rather than the Son of God the Scripture is pointing to? Do we sometimes want to worship or brag on our prophets (in our day, our pastors and preachers) rather than the Lord they proclaim?
God the Father quickly intervened at the Transfiguration and got the disciples focused on the main event. A voice from above declared, “This is My beloved Son with whom I am well pleased.”
The disciples quickly went from awe to being terrified. But then as Jesus so often does, He came near to them, encouraged them, and told them not to be afraid. “And when they lifted their eyes, they saw no one else but Jesus.”
When we get to the point in our Christian walk where we can weed out all of the distractions, lift our eyes, and see no one but Jesus, then we’re where we need to be. Peter, James and John never forgot this experience. Peter and John recorded it for us in 2 Peter 1:17 and John 1:14.
While more may be better for a circus, for the Christian more isn’t better. When we stand before God, our only hope is to stand before Him in Christ alone. It’s only then that He’s well pleased.
What else besides Jesus are you trying to build a tabernacle to? You never need more than Jesus alone.
- Does your life sometimes seem like a three-ring circus? Is it because you’ve created too many main events in your life?
- Do you have a tendency to place too much emphasis on the law or the prophets rather than the Savior?
- What can you get rid of in your life to help you focus on Jesus again?