Devotional

Look up and see Jesus only (Matthew 17:1-8)

Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; 2 and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. 3 And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. 4 Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 5 While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” 6 And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid. 7 But Jesus came and touched them and said, “Arise, and do not be afraid.” 8 When they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only. 

Matthew 17:1-8 NKJV Bible Gateway

Jesus took his disciples up on a mountain, and He was transfigured before them!  “His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light” (Mat 17:2), and then both Moses and Elijah, two great leaders and prophets from the Old Testament also showed up!  It’s not hard to imagine how much the disciples were in awe of what they were experiencing.  They were just seeing a glorious moment of Jesus, as if they were having a glimpse of heaven. Peter enjoyed it so much that he had to say “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles.” (Mat 17:4) He wished time could have just stopped there at that moment.  We too might have had some mountain top moments in life that we wished we could have stayed there longer, if not forever.  Yet the truth is that none of those moments are eternal, all celebrations would come to pass.  One moment the disciples were joyful and excited, the next, they were terrified and trembling over the voice they heard from the cloud! We may also be as vulnerable. We would rejoice over a good news in life, and when a bad news comes, we would also be troubled and shaken.

“But Jesus came and touched them” (Mat 17:7a)  When the disciples were in fear, Jesus, the glorious Son of God, came to them, touched them, and said to them, “lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only” (Mat 17:8). The excitement they had made them want to linger; the fear they had made them tremble. But when they felt His touch and heard His called, they lifted up their eyes on Jesus. They were able to refocus on Him again. They were able to arise and go down from the mountain with Him, and continue to journey on with the Lord. Jesus was all they needed all along.  

Jesus also came from heaven to earth for you.  Did you know it? 

He reached out to touch you. Did you feel it? 

He also said to you,  “Arise, and do not be afraid”.(Mat 17:7b)  Did you hear it? 

If your answer is “yes” to all of the questions above, then the last question is “what are your eyes looking at?”

Perhaps we are still looking behind at our past success or can’t let go of our past failures? Or are we looking around for solutions and answers to our current situation?  Ever consider looking up? When we lift up our eyes, that’s when we can see hope and light to move on. Because the glorious Son of God, Jesus, had died for us and risen again! He is high and lifted up!  He is now seated on the right hand of God and praying for us!  He is the One in control, and the One we can trust. He did not promise a solution to our kids’ education, nor a way to boost up our economy, or to resolve any conflicts among different races. What He did promise are joy and peace that will not be taken away, and hope that will not be shaken.  That true joy, peace, and hope are in Him alone and through Him only. He is whom we need to face any excitements or fears that tomorrow shall bring. Look up and fix our eyes on Him.

Dear Jesus, open my heart so I can feel your touch; open my ear, so I can hear your call; lift up my eyes, so I can see you. You are all I need. Hear my prayer today and strengthen me to move on with your Spirt that overflows joy, peace and hope.

The song “In Christ Alone” came to mind. “In Christ alone, my hope is found! Here in the power of the Christ i stand.”

In Christ Alone
by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend

In Christ alone my hope is found; He is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid ground, Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace, When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all— Here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone, Who took on flesh, Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness, Scorned by the ones He came to save.
Till on that cross as Jesus died, The wrath of God was satisfied;
For ev’ry sin on Him was laid— Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay, Light of the world by darkness slain;
Then bursting forth in glorious day, Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory, Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine— Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death— This is the pow’r of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow’r of hell, no scheme of man, Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home— Here in the pow’r of Christ I’ll stand.

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