Peter said, “it’s good to be here, I will build three shelters, one for you, Moses and Elijah.” Peter probably did have the skills to build three shelters on that mountain. He seems like an outdoors man, handy type. I would, not in a million years, offer to build three structures. I might think of the idea for someone else to do, but for me to do it personally, I wouldn’t even attempt it.
Yet, Peter offered and obviously had a thought in mind about how he would do it. He was probably very capable to accomplish this idea.
But scripture tells us he threw out this option because he was frightened by God’s holiness and wasn’t sure what to say (Mark 9:6). He just blurted out something that he could do, a time filler, a half baked idea, something tangible that wasn’t priority. It wasn’t going to do much for him, the mission or for anyone else. It’s not that it’s a bad idea, it’s just that what Jesus had in mind was much larger, grander and more powerful. Sometimes we try things because we don’t know what else to do. We don’t want to wait and as a result we try to push something — anything through.
As the words came from Peter’s mouth, a voice from heaven declared who Jesus was, overshadowing this idea of three shelters and without responding to it, shut it down. It didn’t come up again. The focus was on Jesus, God’s son. And that’s where it needs to be.
Just because we have the gift to do it or the idea to do it, or even the desire to do it, doesn’t mean we should just jump in at every chance or whim and do things. Now, there are times, when because we can do something we should. When our influence can make someone’s life better, right an injustice or help creative a new path for someone, we should use all the power, resources and ideas we can.
But Peter’s idea may be the most preached on bad there ever was. Something that just didn’t need to be done.
Some people live this way and it gets them in trouble.
They aren’t able to do anything very well.
They often don’t complete a task.
They take away an opportunity from someone more suited for it. Worst of all, they replace God’s grand scheme with an unneeded task – one that side tracks from the most important things.
Jesus knew that believers would be tempted to stay on the mountain top and we didn’t need additional reasons to stay there. The real work would be done later. This was just a moment. We see very clearly, this would have diluted the mission in monumental ways.
Yet it happens to the best of us. Because we can, or think we can, we do.
We may need to be careful to start with what is needed most… listening first to the voice of God. He isn’t asking us to build three shelters, he’s asking us to know obey this truth – Jesus is my son, listen to him! [Read this short story in Mark 9]