Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Building Tabernacles

“And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only.” (Matthew 17:8)

Anyone who reads the New Testament will soon realize that the Jews’ regard for the Old Testament Patriarchs bordered on deification, especially in the case of Abraham (Matt.3:9) This story in Matthew seventeen would serve to bear this out, as well.

Jesus had taken Peter, James, and John with Him up into a high mountain. This would later become known as the “Mount of Transfiguration,” because, at one point while they were there, Jesus was “transfigured before them.” His face shone like the sun and his raiment became as white as pure light, the text says. Then, to add even more drama to the disciples’ experience, they were joined by Moses and Elijah, who had been gone from this earth for hundreds of years. As Jesus and the two visitors talked, Peter, overawed by all this splendor of personages, suddenly made a bold, if ill conceived, suggestion. “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias” (v.4). Jesus may have been dismayed by Peter’s audacious remark, but it was God, the Father, Who thundered from a billowy cloud overhead, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him” (v.5).


Now, before you and I shake our heads in disgust at the always impetuous, often inappropriate, Simon Peter, I think now would be a good time to put forward a probing question: Who is it that you would be tempted to build a tabernacle for? And I’m not talking to New Age junkies who follow television icons and pagan gurus, either. I’m talking to people like you and me, Bible-believing Christians, whose approval rating of someone, living or dead, comes close to ranking with that of Jesus Christ. Someone whose exemplary life, Bible knowledge, or both, would lend their words nearly as much credence as Holy Writ, in our eyes. Oh, our admiration may not be quite as extreme as Peter’s, perhaps; but God’s admonition to us is still the same: “This is my beloved Son…hear ye him.”

Hero worship can be dangerous, even when they’re godly heroes. There is only one Super-Hero: the supernatural Son of God. When all is said and done, anyone else is just a figment of our imagination.

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