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After the discussion about the nature of Jesus’ role as Messiah, he said, “Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom” (Matthew 16.28).
Matthew recorded what happened next, “Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him.
“Then Peter said to Jesus, ‘Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’
“While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!’
“When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, ‘Get up and do not be afraid.’
“And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone” (Matthew 17.1-8).
Sundar Singh was born in India in 1889. His family was wealthy and followed the Sikh religion. Singh’s mother sent him to a Christian school to learn how to speak English. He was fourteen when his mother died and in anger he burned the Bible, one page at a time in front of his friends.
Singh fell into despair after his mother’s death and contemplated suicide. One night, he was determined to throw himself before a train if the True God did not reveal himself to him. That very night he had a vision of Jesus.
He converted to Christianity and was immediately dismissed from his home. The wealthy teenager was immediately homeless. For the first time in his life, he found himself sitting under a tree in the rain with nowhere to go, completely at peace and happy.
Singh became a missionary to the people of India. He began living a lifestyle of a Sadhu, a traveling holy man associated with the Hindu religion. He looked like a Sadhu for all practical purposes, but his message was one of God’s great love through Jesus Christ.
Great Missions Call for Great Means
Sundar Singh rejected the means of the Anglican church that was associated the British colonialism. He was fully approachable, walking barefoot throughout India. He chose to live like the disciples, carrying no money and living on the acceptance of other Indians (see Matthew 10.5-14).
No doubt, the vision that Jesus granted a fourteen year-old teen prepared him for years of service until his death in the late 1920s. He led large numbers to faith in Jesus, walking all over India and Tibet. Before his death, he was able to bring his father to faith in Christ. In the 1940s, another Indian Christian led his brother to faith. This is particularly notable, because his brother attempted to poison Sundar after his conversion.
Peter, James and John were the foundation of the first church. They had first hand knowledge of Jesus’ glory. Peter wrote about it and said, “For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when that voice was conveyed to him by the Majestic Glory, saying, ‘This is my Son, my Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.’ We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven, while we were with him on the holy mountain” (2 Peter 1.16-18).
People like Peter, James, John, Sundar Singh, and many others are shining lights in God’s kingdom. They have experienced in powerful ways the effective reach of God’s power and are completely committed to it.
All Experiences Matter
Few people have had visions of Jesus’ glory like what I written about today. These great visions were given to prepare people for great service and effectiveness.
The lesson for us is to pay attention to whatever kind of communication God gives to us. God is always speaking to his people. You can count on God speaking to you, because that is the nature of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
The Book of Hebrews gives us a strong warning, concerning God’s communication to us. It states,
“Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says,
‘Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,
as on the day of testing in the wilderness,
where your ancestors put me to the test,
though they had seen my works for forty years.” (Hebrews 3.7-10a)
Peter, James, John, Sundar Singh and many others received visions and dynamic communication from God. They were obedient and became extremely powerful in serving God.
We also receive communication from God, even if it is not to the same magnitude as the ones in my article today. If we hear and obey, God will use us in his work, too. Let’s do just that.
Dear Jesus, thank you for the grace of revealing yourself to people. Thank you for the “mind blowing” ways you show yourself to us. Thank you for the small, quiet, and subtle ways that you show us your presence. Please help us to see what you want us to see and to follow your direction for our lives.