Redirecting Our Gaze
December 01, 2023
by Pastor Chuck Swindoll
Scriptures: 2 Kings 2:12–15; Matthew 17:1–13
Six days later Jesus took Peter and the two brothers, James and John, and led them up a high mountain to be alone. As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed so that his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as light. Suddenly, Moses and Elijah appeared and began talking with Jesus. (Matthew 17:1–3)
The Christian's greatest goal is to be like Christ. We want to emulate His exemplary life, model His method of teaching, resist temptation as He resisted it, handle conflicts as He did, focus on the mission God calls us to accomplish as Christ focused on His. And certainly it is our desire to commune with the Father as the Son did throughout His ministry and suffering. No greater compliment can be given than this one: "When I am with that person, it's as if I'm in the presence of Jesus Himself."
Throughout this study of Elijah, I have often thought of how closely the great prophet's life resembled the Messiah, who was yet to come: the way he spent time alone; the courage he showed as he stood in the presence of his enemy and delivered God's message; the power he exhibited when it took a miracle to convince his audience that he was a man with a message from God—the one true God; the compassion he demonstrated when he cared about the widow's grief and brought her son back to life; even the anguish he felt in his own Gethsemane as he wrestled in his soul. And finally, how much like Christ was his departure. As others stood staring, he was taken up to heaven out of their sight.
Is it any surprise, then, that when our Savior asked His disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" the answer from some was, "Elijah." Why, of course! Small wonder, for in many ways their lives paralleled. And when the two men appeared before Jesus and three of His disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration, one was Moses, and the other was none other than Elijah (Matthew 17:3).
Elijah's heroic and humble life urges us to be like Christ—to lift our eyes from the grit and grind of today's woes and to turn our attention to the glory and hope of another land. Immanuel's land! And in that frame of mind, we'll redirect our gaze from who gets the glory to who gives the grace. Then, while fully focused on Him—our King of grace, the gentle Lamb of God—the deepest longings of our souls will be satisfied.
If you compare your life to Christ, how long would your list be of matching characteristics?