We feel that we need to do something

We feel that we need to do something

The apostle Peter had been through a lot in Matthew 16. He had confessed that he believed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus had made promises about his involvement and importance in establishing the church. He was then called ‘Satan’ for rebuking Jesus for his speaking about suffering and death. And now, at the start of Matthew 17, Peter found himself up a mountain with Jesus, James and John.

Suddenly, Jesus was transfigured before the apostles. He shone like the sun. Moses and Elijah appeared beside him. While Peter had confessed that Jesus was the son of the living God, here is Jesus’ power and glory revealed in an incredible way. Peter felt the weight of who Jesus was in a special way.

What did Peter do when he saw this? He offered to make shelters, or booths, for Jesus, Moses and Elijah. This is obviously a silly thing to offer. The transfigured Jesus didn’t look like he needed anything, let alone protection from the weather. Yet Peter is a practical guy. He wants to do something! Surely there is something practical he can be doing?

Maybe you have felt that urge as well. Christians so easily become activists. We want to do something for God. We want to serve others, we want to learn more, we want to increase our output. There is something noble about that urge, of course. But we need to remember that the core of Christianity is not doing things.

We believe in the wonder of grace. God saved us through Jesus not because of what we have done, but because of his love towards us. In Matthew 17, Jesus revealed himself as far more powerful than what Peter had ever imagined. Jesus was God himself, with all that the word ‘God’ means. Jesus doesn’t need us to do things for him to save us.

Our first response, and our ongoing main response to understanding who Jesus is, should be to worship and thank Him. That’s what the living creatures and elders do all the time in Revelation 4 when they know who the King is and what He has done. The good news is that Jesus has done what we could never do ourselves. So we mustn’t become mainly activists who need to do things, else we fear God won’t love us enough. God loves us an infinite amount. Our godly urge to serve Jesus comes second to our primary response of worshipping Jesus.

Have you lost a little of the wonder of who Jesus is? We all go through that from time to time. When we get busy at work, at home, and in our Christian service, we automatically start to measure ourselves by our output. We try to do better and work harder. The way we can most easily tell if this has happened to us is that prayer drops way down in importance. We don’t have time to pray, we tell ourselves; it is not productive, and I could be doing something more important.

No, you couldn’t. What Jesus did for you is more important than anything you could be doing. We all need to spend time reflecting on what Jesus has done instead of just doing the next thing. We need time in the Bible, time listening to sermons, time spent in prayer and thanks.

Don’t get grace the wrong way around. Worship first, and then serve. If all we do is work hard for God and never thank God for Jesus, we will soon start to think we deserve a thank you from God. We’ll gradually become less motivated, more competitive with other Christians, and less grateful. Make sure you focus on Jesus and not on yourself. Why not spend time just thanking and worshipping Him right now?