Monday Reverb – 20February2023

The theme for this week is on the mountaintop.   

  • Psalm 2:1-11   The psalmist prophetically looks ahead to the time in which God would install Jesus as king on Mt. Zion.
  • Exodus 24:12-18   Moses is sent by God to the top of the mountain where he witnessed the glory of the Lord.
  • Matthew 17:1-9   Matthew records the transfiguration of Christ on Mt. Zion.
  • 2 Peter 1:16-21   Peter confirms that he was present on the mountain with Christ during the transfiguration event.


  • Title:  The Father is Pleased
  • Presenter:  Heber Ticas, GCI Pastor

From the transcript …

The Father’s message to the disciples was about how he felt towards his Son.  Not just that he was proud of him, but well pleased.  This goes beyond a normal sense of pride where a parent says, Yep, that’s my boy or that’s my girl!  The Father wanted the disciples to know what kind of love existed between him and his son.  Moses was there representing the law,  Elijah was there representing the prophets.  One to tell you what to do and the other to inform you of what happens when you don’t do what you are supposed to do.

But they disappear, and only Jesus is left with the disciples.  “Listen to him,” the Father tells us.  “Follow the One in whom I am well pleased.”  In other places we learn the Father is pleased with those who follow the Son and in whom the Son lives.  That’s us.

We didn’t just die with Christ, but we rose with him and we are included in the Father’s love for him.  Jesus tells us the Father loves us just as he loves him.  What belongs to the Son also belongs to us.  That includes the Father’s good pleasure.

May the Father’s great love for us take root in our hearts today and may we see ourselves as the beloved children in whom the Father takes great pleasure.




The Transfiguration of Christ

Matthew 17:1-9 (NIV)

When was the last time you had a strong sense of anticipation?  As a kid, I was so excited that I could hardly sleep on Christmas Eve because of the anticipation of unwrapping presents the next morning.

Maybe for you it was graduation, or buying your first car, or going on a much-needed vacation.  Or how about your wedding day?  For some, it may have been purchasing your first home.

When the event you were anticipating had finally arrived, was it all you hoped it would be?  Or maybe it exceeded your wildest imaginations.  That’s exactly how it went down for three of Jesus’ disciples in the story we will be looking at.  These disciples had no way of knowing what was in store for them.

Today we’re going to look at the transfiguration story found in Matthew’s Gospel.  We’re going to start by looking at the anticipation of the transfiguration.  We will then account for its significance.  Finally, we will end with accepting the transfiguration and our inclusion into it.

Matthew 17:1-9

Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; and He was transfigured before them.  His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.  And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him.  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.”   

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!”  And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid.  But Jesus came and touched them and said, “Arise, and do not be afraid.”  When they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.  

Now as they came down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, “Tell the vision to no one until the Son of Man is risen from the dead.”   

In verse 1, we see Jesus bringing Peter, James, and John up on a high mountain with him.  In our minds, this might not sound too significant, but to the Jewish mindset this was about to be a huge deal.  On top of the mountain is where heaven meets earth, spatially, and spiritually.  Here are just a few events in the history of Israel to explain the significance of Jesus taking them up on a mountain:

  • Abraham brings Isaac and meets God on Mt. Moriah.
  • God gave the 10 commandments to Moses on the mountain.
  • Isaiah prophesied about Mount Zion and a great feast.
  • Elijah hears from God on the mountain.
  • Jesus preaches his famous Sermon on the Mount.

For Peter, James, and John, this must have been like waiting for Christmas morning.  You probably couldn’t stress hard enough that these disciples were full of anticipation.  The mountaintop is where encounters with God take place, where business is conducted in the spiritual realm.  The disciples were about to have their minds blown.

Let’s entertain a few questions regarding the transfiguration itself.  Why did the transfiguration have to happen?  And why did it involve Moses and Elijah?  What was their purpose in being there?

Throughout Matthew’s Gospel, he is quite purposeful in showing how all the signs and wonders of Jesus overshadow Moses.  Matthew is intentional in bringing this out over and over.

In Genesis 24, we see Moses on the mountain being accompanied by Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu – at least those were the only ones mentioned by name.  And now, we have Jesus ascending the mountain being accompanied by three men as well.  I don’t think the significance of this was lost on the disciples.

And now we have Moses, again, but this time he is accompanying Jesus.  What Moses represents is the law, with all its regulations and commands, along with its extensive list of all the things you should and should not do.  

Likewise, we also have Elijah, who hears from God on the top of a mountain as well.  But this time he is also accompanying Jesus.  Elijah is representing the prophets, with all the consequences for all that you were instructed to do but didn’t.   

Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here.  If you wish, I will put up three shelters — one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”   While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.  Listen to him!” (Matthew 17:4-5)

From here on, this event becomes even more epic.  Peter’s excited suggestion that they build tents for Moses, Elijah, and Jesus, wasn’t all that unusual.  But God the Father had a different idea.  He interrupted Peter and told him to listen to Jesus.

When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified.  But Jesus came and touched them.  “Get up,” he said.  “Don’t be afraid.”  When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus. (Matthew 17:6-8)

The disciples were so afraid, that Jesus had to assure them that everything was going to be OK.  And when they finally looked up, the only one left standing there with them was Jesus.

Why did Moses and Elijah disappear?  The focus wasn’t on them, and God wanted the disciples to see this.  Jesus stood between the law and the prophets.  He fulfilled everything in the law.  And yet he also took all the punishment for us according to what was written by the prophets.  Jesus gave the perfect response for humanity towards God.  And yet he also gave God’s perfect response to humanity.

Jesus now reigns supreme and is our rightful Lord.  He alone is qualified to rule his kingdom with grace and truth.  Our problem is that we’ve gotten the idea that we must somehow transfigure ourselves.

Peter suggesting they build tents for Moses, Elijah, and Jesus showed he had not yet grasped that Jesus alone was sufficient.  The ways of Moses and the Law, and the ways of Elijah and the prophets, were also the ways of fear and self-effort.  It is only through trusting in the work of Christ that we can experience abundant life.

Just one chapter before this one, Matthew records Jesus making this incredible statement:

Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.  For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. (Matthew 16:24)

Much later in Peter’s life, he would write about this transfiguration event:

But we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.  He received honor and glory from God the father when the voice came to him saying, “This is my son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”  We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.  (2 Peter 1:16-18)

The transfiguration shows Jesus in his full glory, completely fulfilling the Law and the Prophets.  Seeing Jesus for all that he is causes us to realize our utter lostness without him.  He is perfect and gives us his perfection.  He is righteous and gives us his righteousness.  We do not have and cannot attain perfection or righteousness apart from Christ.

It’s interesting that in Peter’s epistle, he fails to mention the fact that God the Father basically told Peter to be quiet and to not try to make plans for God.  Sometimes the best thing we can do is also be quiet and trust.  Sometimes the best response to the glory of God when we see it is just to stay in the moment.  Take it in.  Contemplate on it.  Meditate on it.

Take a few extra moments in prayer to listen, to contemplate, to meditate.  It’s important to reflect on how God has saved each one of us, how he has brought us through trials, how he has come through in times of need.  And yes, how he has transfigured us as well.

The danger for each of us is in the forgetting.  The forgetting that Christ alone is our sufficiency.  Sometimes we want to take our old, crucified selves, and put the things we trusted in back on display by declaring ourselves better than others, more faithful, more giving, more spiritual, etc.

We place ourselves on very shaky ground when we try to use ourselves as the barometer for all things right and acceptable.  Like Peter, we try to erect tents for Moses and Elijah when only Jesus is necessary for life and godliness.

When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified.  But Jesus came and touched them.  “Get up,” he said.  “Don’t be afraid.”  (Matthew 17:6-7)

Matthew tells us that the disciples were scared out of their wits.  Jesus had to pick them up, dust them off, and let them know that all is well.  Sometimes the voice of God can be scary.  Where is he taking me?  Can he be trusted?  I don’t know that I can do what he might ask?  But the voice of God is always the voice that is in our best interest despite whether we think it is at the time, he will always prove himself faithful.

It’s through the transfiguration, through seeing the true character and nature of God, that we become open to living out of his guidance and his strength.  It’s his posture towards us that causes us to lose our fear of the unknown and embrace the mystery that is the loving actions of God.

When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus. (Matthew 17:8)

Read that again.  This is the purpose of this passage of scripture – focus on Jesus alone.   The transfiguration shows us that Jesus is our only hope.  Our hope and our salvation is not in the Law and the Prophets.  Our best intentions or efforts will never be enough.  The systems of laws with all its expectations nor the proclamations and judgments of the prophets is enough.  All has been fulfilled in Christ.  He has accomplished everything on our behalf.

The Bible says, “As he is so we are in this world” (1 John 4:17).  We have been included in the life of Father, Son, and Spirit, enjoying all the benefits that comes from that relationship.  We have been transfigured with Christ and one day we will receive the promise of a full and final transfiguration.  The former ways of this world will disappear, and as we find ourselves bowing before him, the only thing left standing will be Christ.





What Kind of God? (Part 2)  


I think Christendom (religious Christianity) has sold us a bill of goods that have caused us to not see God as He really is.  For example, the doctrine of Hell, which causes people to think of God more as a God of wrath than as a God of love.

So, the purpose of this section of the study is to continue our look at some Bible passages which I hope will help us to see God a little more like He really is.

BUT, first, a recap of somethings we looked at last week …

Three quotes …

1.  Thomas Paine:  “Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man.”

2.  Richard Rohr:  “Humans become the god we worship.” 

3.  Psalm 115:2-8   “Why do the nations say, ‘Where is their God?’  Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him.  But their idols are silver and gold, made by human hands.  They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but cannot see.  They have ears, but cannot hear, noses, but cannot smell.  They have hands, but cannot feel, feet, but cannot walk, nor can they utter a sound with their throats.  8Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them.  

POINT:  If what we read in Psalm 115:8 is true, then how we view God is VERY important because IF your view of God is skewed, THEN you could end up becoming like someone God didn’t intend for you to become.  



  • Deuteronomy 6:4   “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one  
  • Galatians 3:20   Now a mediator does not mediate for one only, but God is one.
  • John 10:30   I and My Father are one.  
  • John 14:9   Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip?  He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?  
  • John 10:38   but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him.”


  • John 4:24    God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”


  • Isaiah 5:16    But the Lord of hosts shall be exalted in judgment, And God who is holy shall be hallowed in righteousness.


  • 1 John 1:5   This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.


  • Hebrews 12:28-29   Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we [l]may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. 29 For our God is a consuming fire.  


  • Matthew 5:44-48   But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.  46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?  47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so?  48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.


  • Psalm 139:1-5   O Lord, You have searched me and known me.  You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways.  For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O  Lord, You know it altogether.  You have hedged me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;  It is high, I cannot attain it.
  • 1 John 3:20   For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.
  • Isaiah 46:10   Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure’.


    • Psalm 139:11-16  If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,” Even the night shall be light about me;  12 Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, But the night shines as the day;  The darkness and the light are both alike to You.  13 For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb.  14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;  Marvelous are Your works,  And that my soul knows very well.  15 My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret,  And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.  16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.  And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.


  • Psalm 139:7-10   Where can I go from Your Spirit?  Or where can I flee from Your presence?  If I ascend into heaven, You are there;  If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.  If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea10 Even there Your hand shall lead me,  And Your right hand shall hold me.


  • Isaiah 46:10-11   Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,’  11 Calling a bird of prey from the east, the man who executes My counsel, from a far country.  Indeed I have spoken it; I will also bring it to passI have purposed it; I will also do it.
  • Matthew 19:26  But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”   
  • Ephesians 3:20   Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us …


  • 1 John 4:8   He who does not love does not know God, for God is love . . .
  • 1 John 4:16   And we have known and believed the love that God has for us.  God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.
  • If what John tells us about God is true … then we should be able to substitute the word “God” for the word “love” in each verse of 1 Corinthians 13 where the word “love” appears.   
  • So let’s do that … and see what it tells us about God.   
  • 1 Corinthians 13:4-8   Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 
  • So if we merge the idea of 1 John 4:8,16 with 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, we begin to see what it can mean when we say God is love …
      • 4 Love (God) suffers long and is kind; love (God) does not envy; love (God) does not parade itself (Himself), (God) is not puffed up; 5 (God) does not behave rudely, (God) does not seek its (His) own, (God) is not provoked, (God) thinks no evil; 6 (God) does not rejoice in iniquity, but (God) rejoices in the truth; 7 (God) bears all things, (God) believes all things, (God) hopes all things, (God) endures all things.  Love (God) never fails.  
      • When we merge the two ideas of 1) that God is love and 2) what love is and does … the implication is that
          • … God suffers long  … God is kind  … God does not envy … God does not parade Himself  … God is not puffed up  … God does not behave rudely  … God does not seek His own   … God is not (easily) provoked   … God does not rejoice in iniquity … God rejoices in truth   … God bears all things   … God believes all things   … God hopes all things   … God endures all things   … God never fails
  • Are those statements true?  Is God patient?  Is God long-suffering? Is God kind?

God suffers long 

  • 2 Peter 3:9   The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
  • 2 Peter 3:15   and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation — as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you,

God is kind 

  • Ephesians 2:7   that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
  • Psalm 13:5   But I have trusted in Your mercy; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.
  • Psalm 100:5    For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations.
  • Psalm 103:8,11,17    The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy … For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him … But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children’s children ….
  • Psalm 106:1; 107:1; 118:1  Praise the Lord! Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy  endures forever.
  • Psalm 136    His mercy endured forever.
  • Lamentations 3:31-33   For the Lord will not cast off forever.  32 Though He causes grief, Yet He will show compassion according to the multitude of His mercies33 For He does not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men.
  • Acts 10:34-35   Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality35 But in every nation, whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.
  • Micah 7:19   He will again have compassion on us and will subdue our iniquities.  You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.

God does not seek His own   


God is not (easily) provoked  


God thinks no evil 


God does not rejoice in iniquity


God rejoices in the truth 


God bears all things 

  • Jesus was tempted in all points as we

God endures all things   

  • Jesus endured the cross

God never fails. 

  • Isaiah 46:10-11   Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,’  11 Calling a bird of prey from the east, the man who executes My counsel, from a far country.  Indeed I have spoken it; I will also bring it to passI have purposed it; I will also do it.
  • Isaiah 14:24   The Lord of hosts has sworn, saying, “Surely, as I have thought, so it shall come to pass, and as I have purposed, so it shall stand:
  • Job 23:13   “But He is unique, and who can make Him change?  And whatever His soul desires, that He does.
  • Psalm 115:3   But our God is in heaven;  He does whatever He pleases.
  • Psalm 135:6   Whatever the Lord pleases He does, in heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deep places.
  • Philippians 1:6   being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;
  • Psalm 36:5-7 (NKJV)  Your mercy, O Lordis in the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.  Your righteousness is like the great mountains; Your judgments are a great deep; Lord, You preserve man and beast.  How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God!  Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings.   
  • Psalm 36:5-7 (NLT)  Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds.  Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the ocean depths.   You care for people and animals alike, O Lord7 How precious is your unfailing love, O God!  All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings.



So … what kind of God do you believe in?

Obviously, the God of the Bible is AN AWESOME GOD.

After all is said and done, however, we will still have to conclude that our understanding and appreciation of that awesome God is still limited.

  • Ephesians 3:14-19  For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height — 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

That said, however, there is good news …

  • Romans 8:3-39    Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
        •  36 As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”
  • 37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.  38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Nothing can separate us from the love of God … and … if God is love, love is God … and nothing can separate us from God.


1 Timothy 2:6   who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time,

Philippians 2:13   for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.


Romans 4:20-21   He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.

Romans 7:23-25   23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 I thank God — through Jesus Christ our Lord!  So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.





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