The Bible is a book about Mountains. Even though the Middle East has never had the world’s tallest peaks, a number of biblical characters have become known for their mountain top experiences. Noah and his ark came to rest on the Mountains of Ararat. Moses climbed Mt. Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments. Elijah heard God’s still, small voice on the mountain of God.
Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount. He went up on a mountain to choose the 12 disciples. He made predictions about the future from the Mount of Olives. His life ended on Mount Calvary. His final marching orders, the Great Commission, were shared with His disciples from a mountain in Galilee.
Why are mountains such a big deal? A mountain is where heaven and earth come closet together. A mountain is where we can see the world from a new perspective, elevated above our normal way of seeing. On a mountain we receive higher vision.
It is noteworthy that many religious traditions have their own mountain theology. Greek gods and goddesses live on Mt. Olympus. Mt. Kailash is sacred to Hindus as the dwelling place of Shiva.
“Mountain top experiences” do not require scaling an actual piece of vertical geology to draw near to God. The Lord is as accessible from a front porch swing as He is from Mt Everest.
When it comes to mountains there is one part of the Jesus story that is unique. Jesus doesn’t live on a mountain top waiting for pilgrims to come and find Him. Jesus did provide three of His disciples a transforming experience on the Mt. of Transfiguration, but Jesus also did something that is found in no other religious tradition; He walks down the mountain with those three very confused men. He joins them in the muck and mire of daily life, down in the valley where it’s hard to see what’s going on and where people go along time without clear vision.
Christmas is about a God down here with us, not up there separated from us. He provides personal guidance and shares the burden of whatever is keeping us up at night. He is available to you in the chair you are sitting in right now!
Rev Dr William A Lewis