On the Mountain Top with Jesus

Theme: The transfiguration of Christ
Object: You might bring some skis, a sled, or some other item to represent the Olympics.
Scripture: After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. Matthew 17:1-3 (NIV)

How many of you watched the Winter Olympics on TV? Like many of you, I was caught up in the excitement of watching athletes from all over the world head for the snow-covered mountains of Russia to participate in the Winter Olympics. It was thrilling to watch them flying down the mountain on bobsleds, snowboards, and skis! Equally exciting was seeing the skaters spinning, jumping, dancing, and racing on the ice. Even if you aren't a big sports fan, you can share the excitement that the athletes feel as they represent their country and compete for a medal that proves that they are among the best in the world in their event.

Have you ever had an experience that was so wonderful that you didn't want to see it come to an end? I am sure that most of the athletes felt that way about seeing the Olympics come to an end. After all, they worked for four years to make it to the Olympics and they wanted to enjoy the feeling as long as possible. And yet, it seems that it was over all too soon.

The thrill of an life-changing event and a feeling of sadness at seeing it come to an end is what some of Jesus' disciples felt in today's Bible lesson. It is the story of an unforgettable experience on the mountain top with Jesus.

The story begins with Jesus taking three of his disciples, Peter, James, and John up onto a mountain to pray. As Jesus was praying, an amazing thing happened. The Bible says that the appearance of his face began to change and that his clothing became as bright as a flash of lightning. Next, Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus. When Peter saw this, he was so excited that he told Jesus that he thought that they should just stay up there on the mountain and build three tabernacles—one for Jesus, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.

Peter didn't want this wonderful experience on the mountain to end. But what Peter didn't understand that it was necessary for this experience end in order that they might move forward to God's greatest gift to the world—the gift of salvation. Following this moment on the mountain, Jesus was crucified on the cross, was buried, and rose from the grave so that you and I could have eternal life in heaven.

God sends a lot of happy days into our life. The day that we decide to follow Jesus and make him our Lord and Savior is, no doubt, the happiest day of our life, but there are many more happy days to follow. When Jesus comes into our heart, it is the beginning of a life of joyfully serving him.

Dear Father, we thank you for all of the joyful experiences you send our way. Help us to grow in our daily walk with you. In Jesus' name we pray, amen.

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