You don’t have to read the writings of the Apostle Peter for very long before realizing that he was deeply impacted by the transfiguration. You know the story: Jesus took Peter, James and John up on the mountain and He was changed before their eyes (Mark 9:2-13). He began to illuminate and His clothes became whiter than any bottle of Clorox could bleach them. Literally the shekinah glory of God shone through Him. Moses and Elijah from the OT Hall of Fame showed up to have a pow-wow with Jesus. Peter was scared spitless and in his standard foot-in-mouth mode of operation he began to yap about the equality of the three. That’s when the very voice of God the Father spoke directly to the disciples and affirmed Jesus’ preeminence. Experientially speaking Peter would never be the same. Listen to his musing about the experience years later:
2 Peter 2:16-18 16 We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” a 18 We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.
There is an old adage that says that “people may be able to discount your arguments but they can never refute your testimony.” I think that is true. Not that we should base our spiritual journey completely on our experiences. But you would be a fool not to count your precious encounters with the Lord as part of your justification for your faith. Some folks who are primarily in ‘faith-is-about-obtaining-knowledge camp have a tendency to pooh-pooh experiences. These same folks would probably tell Peter to stop talking about the Transfiguration and center his argument from the Bible. But Peter says I have to tell you about what we saw and experienced.
As an aside: I do agree that there is a danger to be solely experience based. Some do think that if they thought it, saw it, heard it or experienced it then it must be truth. I know of guy who believes that God may be leading him to divorce his wife. Truth maybe truth no matter the source, but it is very important to make sure that the Scriptures substantiate your experience. God is not going to reveal to you that which contradicts the Bible.
That said, don’t let go so quickly of what God has revealed to you through your everyday life. In fact, sometimes your perspective grid is stabilized by looking back on monumental experiences that you have had along the way. Well at least that has been my experience.
Photo by blmurch