Saturday, January 10, 2009

Three Tabernacles

Luke 9:28-36 records the Transfiguration of Jesus. Jesus had gone up on a mountain with Peter, James and John. The three disciples fell asleep and awoke to find Jesus talking with Moses and Elijah.

This would have been an incredible sight for the disciples -- Jesus, their Master, with two of the great figures of Jewish history. Peter reacted quickly to this scene. "'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" (Luke 9:33).

Peter's intentions were good. He simply wanted to honor these great men. But his initial response would not have pleased God. The Father answered, "This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!" (Luke 9:35). The one left after this statement was Jesus (Luke 9:36). Moses and Elijah were great men who played important roles in Jewish history. But Jesus was the one they were to honor and listen to.

We need to learn from Peter's example here. We should not act without first knowing what God's will is. Peter intended to build these three tabernacles for good. But it would not have been good in God's eyes. We need to be careful not to carry out our good ideas before we know whether or not they are good works.

The proverb writer warns, "There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death" (Proverbs 14:12). Jesus spoke of some who would do things in His name, but would be guilty of lawlessness (Matthew 7:22-23). They thought their works were good, but Jesus classified them as iniquity, or sin.

We are to be "zealous for good deeds" (Titus 2:14). But we must remember that good deeds are defined by God in His word (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Peter had the voice of God from the cloud to correct Him. We do not have this today. But we do have the word of God. So before we act, let us be sure that the thing we intend to do is pleasing to God.
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