The writer of Hebrews has argued frequently how Jesus should be the focus of our attention. Going back now over a couple passages in the Gospels, this theme becomes even more apparent. At the conclusion of the transfiguration in Luke chapter 9, after Peter speaks up about making some tents for Jesus, Moses and Elijah, a cloud envelopes them and then in Luke 9:34-35, Peter is rebuked for trying to do something for God and is told to pay attention to Jesus. As Peter was speaking about tents, “…a cloud came and overshadowed them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, ‘This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!’” I found it interesting that the final verse in Luke on the transfiguration says, “And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and told no one in those days anything of what they had seen.” How unusual for Peter to “keep silent” at all. But the rebuke of speaking when he didn’t know what he was saying must have sunk in a little. Later of course, we see him shooting his mouth off again but for now he “kept silent.”

Yet Peter never forgot this incident in his life and he didn’t keep silent for very long. As Peter and the rest of the apostles went about witnessing to the truth of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead as mentioned in all of Peter’s early sermons, they often encountered opposition and were accused of making up stories. You must admit, the thought of the resurrection from the dead sounds like a made-up story. Peter had an answer to that as we read in 2 Peter 1:16-18, “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 were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,’ we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain.”

Near death stories find their way into the news and tabloids often. Why? I think because people long for some news from the other side. Not long ago a young pastor’s son told the story about Jesus in his near-death experience and they produced a book named “Heaven is for Real.” It became extremely popular both in and out of the Christian circles. Whether they believed him or not, everyone wanted to hear what he had to say. But when we have Jesus’ confirmed death, burial and resurrection, why aren’t we giving Him our full attention? Shouldn’t we focus on the one who actually died and came back rather than one who almost died? I’ve never truly appreciated the “Red Letter” New Testaments, but I’m becoming more and more interested the older I get. Shouldn’t we give more attention to Jesus?