READ: Psalm 135, Zechariah 14, Matthew 17, Titus 3


Hear only Him. In Matthew 17:5, Jesus has taken His closest disciples up the mount of transfiguration for a sneak preview of His glory. In the process Peter, James, and John get distracted by some of their heroes, Moses and Elijah. The Father thunders from heaven instructing them to have ears for Jesus alone. We are surrounded by many faithful witnesses: We read their stories; we listen to their sermons; and we are marvelously helped by the wisdom of our fellow travelers; yet, every once and a while we need to be reminded: tune out man and tune in Jesus.

See only Him. After heaven’s reminder that Jesus has better things to say to us than even the giants of faith, Matthew records that the disciples “saw no one but Jesus only” (v. 8). We too should have myopic vision in this regard; all other personalities and influences fading as we see Jesus only. “Since my eyes were fixed on Jesus, I’ve lost sight of all besides, so enchained my spirit’s vision, looking at the Crucified. All for Jesus, all for Jesus,” goes the hymn. We need to be so entranced with Jesus. We need to stare so fixedly at Him that we are blind to all others.

Talk only to Him. Jesus instructs his dumbstruck disciples to tell no one what they have seen until after the resurrection (v. 9). Not everything Jesus reveals to us should be shared. Some conversations need to remain sealed for a while. Some prayers should never be made prayer requests; they should only be told to Jesus. Another hymn instructs: “I must tell Jesus all of my trials; I cannot bear my burdens alone; in my distress He will kindly help me . . . Jesus can help me, Jesus alone.” Some things are too privately precious to be shared with others. We are to hold them close to our heart looking only, listening only, talking only to Jesus.

Rely only on Him. There are some things that only Jesus can do. In Matthew 17:21, Jesus instructs that “some things can only come out by prayer and fasting.” The most reliable manuscripts do not contain the word “fasting.” Most likely Jesus simply said: “Some things can only come out by prayer.” Fasting has turned into a kind of magic lamp for some Christians. In order to get what they really want, they deny themselves something for a period of time. Jesus undermines this subtle bribery by pointing out that in some situations there is absolutely nothing we can do but rely on Him. If some demons and sicknesses only are removed by prayer, it means only Jesus can deal with it. Prayer then is not our activity but our surrender. This type of prayer admits that only Jesus can help. We need to move away from a Jesus-plus mentality towards a Jesus only one.

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