It is good for us to be here.
Luke 9:28-50 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Some eight days after these sayings, He took along Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. 29 And while He was praying, the appearance of His face became different, and His clothing became white and gleaming. 30 And behold, two men were talking with Him; and they were Moses and Elijah, 31 who, appearing in glory, were speaking of His departure which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. 32 Now Peter and his companions had been overcome with sleep; but when they were fully awake, they saw His glory and the two men standing with Him. 33 And as these were leaving Him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three tabernacles: one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah”—not realizing what he was saying. 34 While he was saying this, a cloud formed and began to overshadow them; and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. 35 Then a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!” 36 And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent, and reported to no one in those days any of the things which they had seen.
37 On the next day, when they came down from the mountain, a large crowd met Him. 38 And a man from the crowd shouted, saying, “Teacher, I beg You to look at my son, for he is my only boy, 39 and a spirit seizes him, and he suddenly screams, and it throws him into a convulsion with foaming at the mouth; and only with difficulty does it leave him, mauling him as it leaves. 40 I begged Your disciples to cast it out, and they could not.” 41 And Jesus answered and said, “You unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be with you and put up with you? Bring your son here.” 42 While he was still approaching, the demon slammed him to the ground and threw him into a convulsion. But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and healed the boy and gave him back to his father. 43 And they were all amazed at the greatness of God.
But while everyone was marveling at all that He was doing, He said to His disciples, 44 “Let these words sink into your ears; for the Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men.” 45 But they did not understand this statement, and it was concealed from them so that they would not perceive it; and they were afraid to ask Him about this statement.
46 An argument started among them as to which of them might be the greatest. 47 But Jesus, knowing what they were thinking in their heart, took a child and stood him by His side, 48 and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in My name receives Me, and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me; for the one who is least among all of you, this is the one who is great.”
49 John answered and said, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name; and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow along with us.” 50 But Jesus said to him, “Do not hinder him; for he who is not against you is for you.”
Yesterday’s text ended with Jesus saying: “I say to you truthfully, there are some of those standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:27) Today’s text begins: Some eight days after these sayings, He took along Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And while He was praying, the appearance of His face became different, and His clothing became white and gleaming. And behold, two men were talking with Him; and they were Moses and Elijah, who, appearing in glory, were speaking of His departure which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and his companions had been overcome with sleep; but when they were fully awake, they saw His glory and the two men standing with Him. And as these were leaving Him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here.” Throughout His ministry, Jesus spoke of the nearness of the kingdom of God and heaven. In Matthew 4:17 He says: “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” And in Luke 17:21: “The kingdom of God is in your midst." In both of these verses Jesus tells us to change the way we think because of the nearness of the kingdom. In Matthew 4:17 it is literally to repent. In Luke 17:21 it is not to look around hoping to find the kingdom, but rather to look within, where the kingdom exists within in us. When Peter’s eyes were opened to see the kingdom of heaven on earth his response was: “Master, it is good for us to be here.” That too is a good place for us to be, a place where we see heaven on earth.
What was it that caused this miraculous connection between the natural realm and the heavenly realm? The text says: He took along Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And while He was praying, the appearance of His face became different, and His clothing became white and gleaming… It was prayer, Jesus prayer connected heaven and earth. Jesus taught us that we should pray: Your kingdom come… on earth as it is in heaven. Prayer is communication with God in heaven. We don’t need our electronic devices to pray. We don’t need to raise our voices and shout so that a distant far off God can hear us. Prayer lifts us into the heavenly realm. It places us in the kingdom of God. The psalmist says that God inhabits the praises of His people. Prayer and praise connect the earthly realm with the heavenly realm. It’s not important to understand whether we go up or it comes down, but only to know that we are in a place where it is good for us to be.
In Psalm 91:1 The psalmist says: He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. He goes on to speak of the protection, the deliverance and the provision that is there, in God’s presence. Hebrews 4:14-16 says: Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. It is only because of grace, by the finished work of the cross, that we come to God’s presence, and there we receive help, protection, provision and deliverance for every need. It is good for us to be near to God, to dwell and abide in His presence. It is good for us to live and walk in a place where heaven and earth meet.
Today is the day that we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, the finishing touch to the finished work of the cross. Jesus died on the cross, for our sins, so we could be redeemed and reconciled to God. He is no longer on the cross and He is no longer in the grave. He is risen! He has gone to be with the Father in heaven. We though should not think or live as if He is gone to some far off place. Jesus says: “Where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst." (Matthew 18:20) So, as we gather together with other believers, in prayer or in praise He is there with us. The kingdom of heaven and the earthly realm come together where He is and we will truly see things on earth become as they are in the heavenly realm. There is another promise also. Even if we are alone, apart from the company of others who believe, Jesus says: “lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:20) The King James translation says: “lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” There is no place or time that we need to be without Him. He is with us to the end of the earth and to the end of time as we know it. Because He is risen, wherever we are, whenever we pray or praise Him, He is there and it is good.
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit I pray and I praise Your name. Thank You that through the finished work of the cross and the resurrection, because Jesus lives, I can live, dwell and abide in Your presence, whenever and wherever I am, You are there. May Your kingdom come and Your will be done. May it truly be on earth as it is in heaven. May others who see the kingdom of heaven touch earth as I dwell and abide with You, say it is good for us to be here. Amen.