Lesson Fifty One
VISITORS FROM HEAVEN
To receive this weekly devotional and other content for your spiritual renewal, subscribe to our new Renew Newsletter.
When our girls were growing up, dinner time was important, not because of the food on the table, but what happened around it. The dinner table was a place where important conversations could be prompted either by the girls or by us. I lost count of the times when the girls would ask the same questions . . . “Tell me again why we don’t . . .” I would think we answered the question to their satisfaction and then it would come up again at a different time. And again. And again.
Jesus actually teaches three strong lessons in the story of the Transfiguration—ones that relate to parents, but for others as well. Ones that we might miss if we don’t study the story carefully.
Patience. To continue to answer the same questions around the dinner table took a lot of patience. Jesus had His own version of “dinner table questions” from the disciples. Repeatedly they asked Him the same questions many times from their own point of view. Before taking the three disciples up the mountain who Jesus was and His mission was unclear. Going down the mountain afterwards they asked the same question He’d answered before. Answering questions over and over can try our patience. But if eternity is the goal either for us or for our children, taking the time to respond is worth it.
If eternity is the goal either for us or for our children, taking the time to respond is worth it.
Prayer. When they reached a place on the mountainside, Jesus fell to the ground in prayer. The scene was not unlike that in Gethsemane with Jesus praying apart from sleepy disciples. But in this instance He is praying for them. He’s praying that God will help them understand who He is and what His mission is, essentially praying, They don’t get it in spite of all I’m doing. Help them to know who I am! We, too, need to pray the same prayer for our children, our families, and ourselves. Help them to understand who Jesus is. Find ways to make Him evident in our lives.
Provides. Jesus’ prayer was answered by the Transfiguration. God revealed to the disciples who Jesus really was by allowing His divinity to shine through His humanity. If they didn’t get it before, surely this was true enlightenment. As a bonus, God sent encouragement to Jesus through Moses and Elijah. Interestingly the disciples awake, but only after missing the first part. God will do the same for us in spite of our spiritual sleepiness. He will provide abundant blessings in answers to prayer or in nature. We can actually see God as He works through us. And when we do, Jesus is revealed in His true form—our Messiah, Savior, and Redeemer.
Who knew such profound lessons could be found in a mountainside experience? Let us remember these especially as we look for the abundant blessings. These are where we will find renewal.
After the Transfiguration, Jesus and the disciples come down the mountain to discover the rest of the disciples being heckled by religious leaders because they are unable to heal a boy with convulsions. Jesus heals the boy whose condition is a result of a demon. Later the disciples ask Jesus why they were unable to heal him. Jesus’ answer was: “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting” (Mark 9:29). Most commentators agree that “and fasting” should probably not be there, thus making the statement all about prayer.
At first glance one might believe that Jesus is talking about the type of demon—that particular kind takes prayer. In actuality, He was not. This story is directly tied back to the experience of the three disciples on the mountain who fell asleep rather than be burdened by prayer. It also addresses the nine disciples who were grumbling at the bottom of the mountain for being left behind. Both groups—the chosen and the laity—were lacking a prayerful experience.
It becomes a message to all of us of the amazing need we have to be bathed in prayer. Not basic prayer, but deeply moving prayer that reveals our heart and mind to God.
Making it Real
Both stories this week revolve around prayer. The disciples needed to watch in prayer, and they would have witnessed the amazing transformation of Jesus as well as His conversation with Moses and Elijah. The way to heal the boy was through having an amazing prayer life. This week concentrate on your prayer life. Try these:
- If you’re not one to keep a list of prayer needs, make one and pray fervently for those items this week.
- Increase the time you pray intentionally. Many of us pray throughout the day, but identify several moments when you stop and focus everything on God and prayer.
- Is there one issue or person in particular bothering you? Concentrate on that one issue and fervently take it to God in an attitude and posture of prayer several times each day.
Merle Poirier writes from Silver Spring, Maryland, where she works as the operation manager for Adventist Review and Adventist World magazines as well as the designer for KidsView, a magazine for 8-12-year-olds. She enjoys spending time with her family including being a grandmother to two active little boys, who greatly enjoy Starting With Jesus, and a granddaughter, born in 2023. She is blessed to have all three living close by, continually bringing joy and delight.