We Can't Stay Here

transfiguration 2Friday, February 24, 2017

Matthew 17:1-19

They should have known.

They should have known when Jesus found them, strangers minding their own business on the seashore and called out, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.”

They should have known when Jesus sat down on the mountainside and spoke the most ridiculous words with such complete and utter sincerity that no one dared laugh, “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.”

They should have known when Jesus did not hesitate to answer a disciple’s perfectly reasonable request with, “Follow me and let the dead bury their own dead.”

They should have known when Jesus sent them out without silver or gold or copper, without a bag, without a spare change of clothes, without a fee for service, but only with instructions to do the impossible and the rallying cry of, “See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves.”

They should have known when Jesus always seemed to be going out of his way to bring them into conflict with the religious leaders—by eating with sinners and tax collectors, by healing and plucking grain on the Sabbath, by attracting attention, by speaking out against them, by refusing to play their games.

They should have known when Jesus foretold his suffering, death, and resurrection, and in the next breath, invited them all to “deny themselves, and take up their cross and follow me.”

They should have known.

That this mountain top moment was just a stop along the way. That this bright clarity was just a fleeting vision. That the peaceful moment in heaven’s spotlight would soon be rudely interrupted. That their time of being set apart from the crowd, the world, the trouble, the risk, it was all just temporary. That any rising feelings of pride in their own discipleship would soon be dashed to the ground.

That too soon, Jesus would simply turn and walk down the mountain, and without a word let them know what they should have known all along, “we can’t stay here.”