Peter meant well when he offered to put Jesus in a box (Matthew 17:1-8). His proposal wasn’t meant as any kind of disrespect. In fact, he thought it would honor the Lord to build Him a proper memorial.
When Peter saw Moses and Elijah with Jesus, he got so excited that he thought it would be a great idea to put them in boxes too. He assumed Jesus would be quite pleased to have equal billing with such dignitaries.
It took a voice from heaven to show Peter the error of his ways. Along with James and John, he fell face down to the ground, and “they only saw Jesus” when they got up (v. 8).
Only Jesus. That’s the kind of revelation we need as well–a revelation that rids us of all the religious clutter, so Jesus is no longer eclipsed.
But throughout human history, people have tried to put God in their boxes. Sometimes this is overt, and several cultures today openly build “spirit houses” to house their myriads of gods.
But for most of us, the effort to confine and control the Almighty is much more subtle. We put Him in a Sunday morning box, a denominational box, or try to confine Him to the four walls of our church building. We forget that the kingdom of God is much bigger than any church meetings or programs. It’s a 24/7/365 sort of thing, after all.
Over and over, we must be reminded that “the Most High doesn’t live in temples made by human hands” (Acts 7:48). Even when the Israelites had the Ark of Covenant in sight, God’s presence wasn’t confined within the box. His glory continually filled the holy of holies and often filled the entire tabernacle or temple. It led the Israelites by a cloud during the day and a pillar of fire by night.
It’s the height of arrogance to think we can keep God tucked away in our boxes. Whenever we try to do that, if we’re courageous enough to open the box and look inside, we find that He’s GONE!
I’m wondering if this is what happened to the church in Laodicea, described by Jesus in Revelation 3:14-22. They had they become lukewarm and spiritually blind, but that wasn’t the worst part. Things were so bad that Jesus was on the outside, knocking on the door for permission to come back in.
Perhaps the Laodiceans thought they had successfully confined Jesus to their tidy box of religious rituals and programs. Yet all the while, He had escaped—as He always does when we attempt to confine Him. Fortunately, there was still time to hear His voice and have fellowship with Him again. Do you hear Him knocking today?