LISTEN FOR THE RIGHT TIME                    MATTHEW 17:1-9

The other day I was leading a Bible Study when one of our members shared a story about how she was at the beach in Ventura when a woman nearby started talking to her.  The member was a little surprised but wanted to be friendly so she joined her in a conversation.  It wasn’t long when their sharing with each other took an interesting turn as the woman asked our member where she went to church.  The member told her Holy Trinity Lutheran, and the discussion began turning towards other questions about the church.

Our church member was taken a little off guard. She hadn’t come to beach to talk about beliefs, but as she listened to the woman, this church member could tell that the woman wasn’t just making small talk about a religious building, she was interested in talking about matters of faith.  Because the church member took the time to listen to a stranger she realized that it was the right moment to say something about what she believed.

In the text this Sunday from the Book of Matthew chapter seventeen we will hear the story of the transfiguration when Peter, James, and John go up with Jesus to the top of a  Mountain and see him turn into a figure surrounded by a brilliant, dazzling white light. Then a voice from the clouds says, “This is my beloved son. Listen to him!”  Those words must have seared themselves into the brains of the disciples as they are connected to this extraordinary, otherworldly experience which has gripped their attention.  They are to listen to Jesus.

So what is one of the first things Jesus says to them as they come down the mountain?  “Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”  What?!?  Why would Jesus not want them to tell anyone about the amazing vision they had just seen?  It sounds like because it wouldn’t be the right time.  It sounds like Jesus wants them to wait to share about the experience until after he has risen from the dead.

How do we know when is the right time or wrong time to share about our experiences of faith?  How do we know if someone will be receptive to our sharing or not?  Maybe it begins with listening to Jesus nudging us through the Holy Spirit to speak up or back off.  Maybe it means listening to other people to perceive their questions and interest so that we can be open and prepared to share and not miss the opportunity because we never know when that time might come.  It might even happen while talking to a stranger at the beach.

-Pastor Erik Goehner