Ever wonder what Moses and Elijah said to Jesus on the mountain? (Mark 9:2-9) Maybe it went like this:
Jesus: Great to see you guys! Mo and Eli, you rock! Your legacy has continued for centuries. It is truly an honor when people compare me to you all.
Elijah: Of course. Kind of the way people compare current quarterbacks with the quarterbacks of old. You are following in our footsteps as a leader of God’s people. We are the gold standard for being listeners to God and leaders of people, wouldn’t you say, Mo?
Moses: Uh-huh! (big smile)
Jesus: No question in my mind. Since you are the gold standard, do you have any advice for me as I try to lead these folks? (point to congregation)
Moses: Well, if you are going to really make an impact on these people, you have to know how to approach them. First, remember that they are fickle. One day they think you are the greatest thing since sliced bread and another day they are complaining about why you don’t have better sermons or why you didn’t heal Aunt Gertrude or why there seems to be nothing to eat besides bread and fish. You just have to be aware that that is how people are. You will never get 100% commitment from a human being. So that means you have to be persistent, and you will say the same thing multiple times before people will get it.
Elijah: That is true. You also have to be ready to say things even if the current authority figures don’t want to hear your message. I had a serious run in with a king and his wife because they didn’t want to admit that they were flat out turning their backs on God—worshiping things of their own creation, trying to wipe out the prophets of God and outright stealing property. My life was in danger because I pointed out their abominable ways.
Jesus: My life is in danger too. The elders, the chief priests and the scribes are out to get me because I am showing the people that God’s way of operating is not the same as the way these guys operate.
Moses and Elijah nod and whistle in agreement.
Moses: That is when it is crucial that you take time to stop and listen to where God is leading you. I never could have gotten those stone tablets in the hands of the people without time alone with God.
Elijah: Yeah. One time when I was really afraid, and ready to give up, I experienced God’s presence in the quiet. That gave me the ability to keep on going.
Jesus: These guys are angry and irrational because they feel threatened. I think it is more than just my teaching and healing. They are really anxious now that I have used God’s power to calm the wind and the waves and to raise that little girl from the dead.
Elijah: You and I both know the surprise in the faces of a parent when a dead child is raised. I guess that is one thing I would encourage you to remember always. Your ministry is life- changing for the people you interact with. Feeding miracles aside, there is nothing that can compare with the joy that poor widow had when I was able to breathe life into her son again.
Moses: When you think about it, your role as a life changer is going to be what people will remember you for. It is not your specific teaching. Not your specific actions. It will be the way you made people feel that really endures. You keep on making people feel valued even when society steps on them. You keep on making people feel loved by the God who sent you here. You keep on making people feel powerful because of God’s promise to strengthen them in the face of whatever Pharaoh who might be in front of them.
Elijah: Or whatever ruler or spokesperson for some ungodly “isms” and “phobias” that swirl around them—racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, islamophobia, exaggerated nationalism, immigrant phobia. Whew, you have your work cut out for you, buddy.
Jesus: You know it, Eli. When we get down the mountain, I had better hit the ground running. I know my time is short. I am not totally sure I can count on these guys (point to congregation). Sometimes they just don’t get it.
Moses: It is like there is something blocking them. Even when I left my brother Aaron in charge, God’s people did not get it. Don’t give up on them, though! God has used fickle, complaining, errant, even sinful people time and time again.
Jesus: I guess you are right, Mo.
GOD: This is my Son, the beloved; listen to him.
Elijah and Moses: (thumbs up sign, big smiles) Now you’re talking!
Moses: By the way, who do you think will win the Superbowl?
Elijah: Got to be the Panthers.