Tony's Reflection 73 

One glimpse.

That is all it can take and you never look at things in the same way again.

The multi-eyed monster with sinister fangs, lurking in the dark under your skirting board; the tenacious tiny bloodsucker living in your hair; the filthy little dribbling creature, spitting all over your food. Under the microscope, a spider, a headlouse and a blowfly all become the stuff of which nightmares are made. The microscope opens up sinister new vistas, into the creepy micro-world around us.

In today’s episode from Mark (
9:1-13), Peter has a glimpse into a new world. The vista that flashes alight isn’t sinister… it was mind blowing and would change the way he saw Jesus for ever. After today, Peter would never be the same again.

Peter’s head had been swimming. Wave after wave of emotion crashed in, sweeping his heart this way and that.

The horror of the gruesome death Jesus said was coming his way.

Then there was the shame and sting of the sharp words Jesus had hurled into Peter’s heart. All he wanted to do was to protect Jesus from the unthinkable fate he seemed to be calling down upon his own head. “Satan…” Jesus had called him. Was Peter really that bad?

Then the dread of what lay ahead for Peter and his friends came flooding in. They had to “take up a cross” as well. Everyone back then knew what the bloody torment of crucifixion looked like. Would it really happen to them?

Shivers ran up his spine, as he remembered the bone chilling picture Jesus painted of the final scenes of life on earth. Messiah returning at the head of an angel army. Some rescued from the flames of judgement. Those too ashamed or frightened to “take up their cross” in this life abandoned to burn.

The days passed. Six days, in fact.

The shock had now frozen into a cold, uneasy numbness, deep in Peter’s heart.

As that dark torrent of terror had been released in his soul, there had been some blurred pinpricks of light. There was hope, but it wasn’t clear cut.

Jesus had spoken of himself “rising again”. That sounded strangely reassuring, but what did it mean?

He had said some of them would “see God’s kingdom come in power”. From the time he was at his mother’s knee, Peter looked forward to seeing this, on the other side of death. But Jesus had said they would see the glory and majesty on this side. How could that be?

A maelstrom of emotion whirled in Peter’s spirit as he walked with Jesus, James and John up the mountainside. Peter had felt strangely reassured by the warmth in Jesus’ voice, as he had taken the three of them aside and invited them to take the climb with him. It was as if Jesus knew something was about to happen – and he wanted them to be part of it.

Peter had been so relieved at the offer. Time with Jesus, time to pray, time to process the storm inside him… that was going to be so precious. Peter had prayed with Jesus many times before. What a privilege those times were. But this was going to be a prayer time like no other.

A strange peace welled up inside Peter, as they wound their way upwards. He knew well the warmth and well-being that came from Jesus’ company. As he looked down, the greenery of the fields and woodland below was lush and reassuring.

Lost in the tranquillity of the moment, Peter became aware of a strange brightness, beside him. The sunlight on Jesus’ white robe had been shining, pure and wholesome. It was strangely different, now. The brilliance of the whiteness rose. This wasn’t reflection. It was light coming from inside Jesus. The brightness grew remorselessly, on and on. Peter wanted to turn his eyes away, it was so intense - but it was mesmerising, unbearably dazzling but yet warm and inviting. His gaze was riveted.

Jesus’ entire being radiated. As Peter squinted in the brilliance, two more lights floated beside Jesus. They shimmered and shone, slowly taking shape, human forms. Something intuitive, deep inside Peter told him who they were. Elijah and Moses. Old Testament heroes Peter had revered since boyhood. Each of them leaned in close to Jesus, confiding heavenly secrets in deep and intimate conversation. Peter strained to hear, but he only picked up one word. “Departure…”. What could that mean?

A swirling mist slowly wafted around all six of them. It grew thicker and thicker, enveloping them in cloud. The light from Jesus still shone effervescent, but his detail fogged in the damp twirling of the vapour.

A voice came from nowhere, deep and booming, yet tender and affectionate. “This is my son. I love him. Listen to him.”

As those words resonated deep into Peter’s very being, the mist slowly melted in the warm sun and the four of them were once more alone on the mountainside.

Jesus eyes read the speechless bewilderment enwrapping his three friends. “Best not say anything about this, until after I have risen,” he said, with a wink.

None of them could say anything, anyway. They walked slowly downward in silence, overwhelmed by sudden normality.

All that had disturbed Peter for the last six days remained, dark and unexplained inside him. He still didn’t understand. But he knew one thing. He was going to stay close to Jesus and strain all he had to listen to him. He would hang on every word.
signed Tony