Have you ever been on a spiritual mountaintop only to have the reality of the valley shoved right back in your face? Jesus had just taken Peter, James, and John to the ultimate mountaintop experience (vss. 9:28-36, known as The Transfiguration). They saw the reality of the person of Jesus in a way no one ever had or ever will, until heaven. That is when we have to be on guard the most, isn’t it? Things are going well for us and we feel connected to Jesus, and then… “the great crowd” meets us in the valley.
- Is Jesus just as real in your valley as he is on the mountaintop?
READ THE WORD: LUKE 9:37-45 (ESV)
37 On the next day, when they had come down from the mountain, a great crowd met him. 38 And behold, a man from the crowd cried out, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child. 39 And behold, a spirit seizes him, and he suddenly cries out. It convulses him so that he foams at the mouth, and shatters him, and will hardly leave him. 40 And I begged your disciples to cast it out, but they could not.” 41 Jesus answered, “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you and bear with you? Bring your son here.” 42 While he was coming, the demon threw him to the ground and convulsed him. But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit and healed the boy, and gave him back to his father. 43 And all were astonished at the majesty of God.
But while they were all marveling at everything he was doing, Jesus said to his disciples, 44 “Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men.”45 But they did not understand this saying, and it was concealed from them, so that they might not perceive it. And they were afraid to ask him about this saying.
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- Notice it was the next day when the valley smacked up against their mountaintop experience. Describe the scene in your own words. Who do you relate to most? The disciples or the man or his son?
- Jesus’ own disciples had failed to heal the boy. They were given the power and authority in Luke 9:1, but they did not succeed. Why? What clues do you find in verse 41?
- When you study this in the other Gospels, you find out why (Matthew 17 and Mark 9). They lacked faith and the spiritual discipline of prayer. How do faith and prayer help prepare us for the battles of the valley?
- What are the battles that you are facing today, and how can Jesus provide for you what you need?
RESPOND TO GOD
The painful realities of the valley often make us want to stay on the mountain, but we dare not stay on the glorious mountaintop when there are battles to fight in the valley below. Our daily discipline to pursue God in his Word and in prayer enables us to succeed when it feels like we are getting thrown around by the enemy. It also prepares us to face the challenges of future valleys. It builds our faith that the God of the mountain is with us in the valley, and no matter what the battle may bring, Jesus will be the victor.
- Thank God for his victory in battle with the evil one and over our sin.
- Ask God for courage and faith to face the battles of the day.
- Ask God to help you maintain consistent time in prayer and in the Word.