Picture this. A high mountain. Seemingly engulfed in flames. Black thick smoke everywhere. God himself has descended from heaven and quite frankly it’s terrifying. And as you stand there, quite some distance away, you watch one man actually begin to ascend that mountain. IS HE CRAZY? you shriek. You’re literally approaching God!!! What man can do that and live to tell the tale??? I’m talking, of course, about Moses’ ascent up Mount Sinai to receive from God his holy law. It was supposed to be a good thing. God was giving to the people he marched outta Egypt the rules and regulations that would set them apart from the nations that surrounded them. They were supposed to look different. They would be his people and he would be their God. God would abundantly bless them as they followed his decress. It was all gonna be just fine. That is, until Moses descended from the mountain days later. How quick were God’s people to turn from him, as they danced around a golden calf. God’s law suddenly went from a pattern for their lives….to condemning them for their sin. Sound familiar? As Paul says, the letter does indeed kill. It’s a mirror that shows even the best intending Christians: we’re ugly inside. We’re quick to build our calves as well. Like Adam, we blew it too. God’s law — which is supposed to be good for us too — condemns us over and over again.
Now picture this. You’re at the foot of a different mountain. It’s been many years since God gave his law to his people and they were as far from keeping it as they had ever been. In fact, most of the people didn’t even worship him anymore. As far as they were concerned, he didn’t even exist to them. Many more were apathetic and really were open to “god” suggestions. The country was rife with crime, paganism, and even child sacrifice. One man had had enough. He gathered the people at this mountain and proposed a showdown. Two bulls had been prepped on two separate altars: one godly the other demonic. He stands by and watches the demonic priests make ridiculous pleas to their so-called god to send fire. Even laughs at ’em. They even cut themselves trying to get their sleeping god’s attention. And then, in one of the most boss moves ever, he orders his own bull drenched with water. Only a few moments later to be drenched in the flames of heaven, showing the stunned crowd that even though his people had largely abandoned him….he was still there.
Now, fast forward several hundred more years. Yet another mountain. Both Moses and the guy on the other mountain are there. And so is Jesus. Once again, God had descended to a mountain. And three of his closest buddies got a chance to see that with their own eyes. They even got to hear the Father’s own voice and were terrified for it. God had yet again revealed to his wayward people that though they stray from him…he’s relentless. He goes after them anyway. And he would descend from this mountain only to ascend yet one more. A small yet infamous hill. The place of the skull, where society’s worst criminals would breath their last in an agony the world can’t imagine. But he would do it because it’s the only way. God’s law had to be kept perfectly on our behalf. And our uncountable sins had to be atoned for once and for all. God would ascend this hilltop not to shine like the sun but to hang his head in death for us. But he would not remain that way. “As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”” As we enter into Lent, may the joy of Easter always be on our minds. True God came to earth. To a mountain yet again. To save us.