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Great Interviews of Jesus (5 of 15)
With Two Dead Men
Three summers ago I climbed with my brothers the
highest mountain of the San Bernardino range in
California, San Gorgonio. From the barren, rock-
strewn summit of that mountain we commanded a
magnificent panorama: toward the south the desert and
the Salton Sea, toward the east endless waves of brown
mountains rolling toward the Arizona desert, to the
west and north the checkered squares of the orange
orchards and the vast Pacific. The view was one of
great uplift and inspiration, well worth the long,
hard ride up the winding trail. But we had no thought
of remaining on the top of the mountain, even for a
single day. A high mountain is not a place to live.
You go up to the top of it to get the view, to feel
the uplift of that view amid silence broken only by an
occasional sigh of the wind, like the sigh of time
itself, as you look out over the handiwork of God. So
it is with the Mount of Transfiguration. It is not a
mount on the top of which you stay, as Peter wanted to
do when he suggested that they build there three
tabernacles, one for Moses, one for Elijah, and one
for Jesus. It is for us, as it was for Christ Himself
and for His three disciples, a mount of vision, of
uplift, of comfort, of faith confirmed-and then back
to the work of life.
The Transfiguration, which receives so prominent a
place in three of the Gospels, is not often spoken of
in Christian teaching and preaching. The hymn writers
have memorialized all the other events in the ministry
of our Lord, but I know of just one hymn on the
Transfiguration. And yet, although not in the sense
that Peter meant it, it is "good for us to be here,"
and it will be with profit and inspiration that we
climb this mountain.
Because the confession of Peter in answer to the
question of Jesus, "Who do men say that I the Son of
man am?" was made just a little while before this a ...
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