Sermons

Summary: Have I allowed Jesus to "transfigure" my life?

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MANY OF US HAVE HAD THEM, THOSE TIMES WHEN WE FELT LIKE WE WERE ON TOP OF THE WORLD, REALLY HAPPY, CONFIDENT THAT WE KNEW ALL THE ANSWERS, COULD SOLVE ANY PROBLEM THAT CAME UP.

PROBABLY DURING THESE TIMES WE ALSO FELT REALLY CLOSE TO GOD, REALLY IN TUNE WITH GOD’S PLAN FOR US. IN THOSE MOMENTS WE WERE EXCITED AND ALIVE, AND EVERYTHING SEEMED NEW AND REFRESHING.

THESE MOMENTS SEEM TO ALWAYS COME AT SOME EXCITING EVENT IN OUR LIVES: GRADUATION, BAPTISM, THE FIRST DAY ON A NEW JOB, YOUR WEDDING, THE BIRTH OF A CHILD, EVEN CATCHING YOUR VERY FIRST FISH.

IT MIGHT HAVE EVEN BEEN SOMETHING REALLY SPIRITUAL, LIKE A WEEK AT CHURCH CAMP OR A CHURCH RETREAT. BUT IT CAN ALSO BE SOMETHING OF A SMALLER, QUIETER NATURE, LIKE A VERY INTIMATE CONVERSATION WITH YOUR FATHER OR MOTHER WHEN YOU FELT THAT THEY HONESTLY UNDERSTOOD WHAT YOU WERE SAYING AND WHY YOU FELT THE WAY YOU DID.

WE CALL THESE "MOUNTAIN TOP EXPERIENCES!" THE TYPE OF EXPERIENCES WE WISH WOULD LAST FOREVER SO WE WON’T HAVE TO COME DOWN OFF THAT MOUNTAIN! WE WANT TO DO EVERYTHING HUMANLY POSSIBLE TO HANG ON TO THAT MOMENT FOR AS LONG AS WE CAN.

"LET’S JUST STAY RIGHT HERE AND LET THE REST OF THE WORLD GO BY FOR A WHILE," WE MIGHT SAY. BUT TO FREEZE THAT ONE MOMENT IN TIME SHUTS OFF THE POSSIBILITY OF THE NEXT MOMENT.

IN OUR SCRIPTURE TEXT TODAY THE MOUNTAIN TOP EXPERIENCES WERE ONE OF REVELATION. FOR JESUS, HIS MOUNTAINTOP EXPERIENCE WAS A TIME OF CONFIRMATION AND AFFIRMATION OF HIS MINISTRY.

FOR PETER, JAMES, AND JOHN THE MOUNTAINTOP WAS A BRIEF GLIMPSE OF THE TRANSCENDENT, A PEEK AT THE REALITY THAT LIES JUST BEYOND EVERYDAY LIFE.

ON THIS PARTICULAR DAY, JESUS DOES NOT HAVE ALL HIS DISCIPLES WITH HIM. IN SECLUSION UP IN THE HEIGHTS OF MOUNT TABOR JESUS REVEALS HIMSELF TO PETER, JAMES AND JOHN IN WHAT IS KNOW TO US AS TRANSFIGURATION.

TRANSFIGURATION COMES FROM THE GREEK WORD "METEMORPHŌTHĒ" WHICH MEANS "TO BE CHANGED INTO ANOTHER FORM."

JESUS UNDERWENT TOTAL METAMORPHOSES. JESUS DID NOT CHANGE JUST ON THE OUTSIDE. HE CHANGED FROM THE INSIDE TO THE OUTSIDE.

FOR A BRIEF TIME, THE VEIL OF JESUS’ HUMANITY WAS LIFTED, TRANSFORMED AND GLORIFIED. IN THE BRILLIANCE OF "DAZZLING WHITE" THE DISCIPLES SAW HIM AS HE WILL BE WHEN HE RETURNS VISIBLY IN POWER AND GLORY TO ESTABLISH HIS KINGDOM ON EARTH.

AS THE THREE MEN GAZE UPON THE RADIANT LIGHT THEY SOON FIND THAT OTHERS HAD JOINED THEM. STANDING IN CONVERSATION WITH CHRIST IS MOSES AND ELIJAH.

WHAT AMAZES ME ABOUT THIS IS THAT THE DISCIPLES HAD NEVER MET ELIJAH OR MOSES. CAMERAS WERE NOT INVENTED SO THEY HAD NO PICTURES OF WHAT THEY LOOKED LIKED, BUT WITH THE VERY FIRST GLANCE THEY KNEW WHO THEY WERE AS THEY STOOD NEXT TO JESUS.

ELIJAH APPEARED AS A SYMBOLIC REPRESENTATION OF ALL THE WORDS SPOKEN BY THE OLD TESTAMENT PROPHETS. ELIJAH WAS HERE TO TESTIFY TO THE ULTIMATE IMPORTANCE OF THE IMPENDING EVENTS AS FORETOLD BY THE PROPHETS.

MOSES APPEARANCE WAS A REPRESENTATION OF THE OLD COVENANT AND THE PROMISE THAT WOULD SOON BE FULFILLED IN THE DEATH OF JESUS ON THE CROSS.

BECAUSE BOTH OF THESE MEN WERE PROMINENT MEDIATORS OF GOD’S RULE TO THE NATION OF ISRAEL THEIR PRESENCE ATTESTED TO JESUS’ ROLE AS THE MESSIAH AND THAT THE BEGINNING OF THE END WAS AT HAND.

THE MESSAGE CAME THROUGH LOUD AND CLEAR RIGHT? WRONG! THE DISCIPLES WERE STILL IN THE MODE OF "EARTH" AND "HUMANITY." THEY MISSED IT BY A MILE!

TRUE TO FORM, PETER RESPONDS AS HE ALWAYS DOES; IMPULSIVELY! HE CALLED OUT "RABBI" WHICH IS THE HEBREW TITLE FOR TEACHER. JESUS HAD JUST SHOWN HIMSELF AS THE MESSIAH AND PETER TURNS AROUND AND CALLS HIM "RABBI."

PETER JUST OPENED HIS MOUTH AND INSERTED HIS FOOT. BY ADDRESSING JESUS AS RABBI HE SHOWS THAT HE DID NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT THE TRANSFIGURATION WAS ALL ABOUT. HE WAS GREATLY MOVED BY IT, BUT HE JUST DIDN’T GET IT.

ALL PETER KNEW WAS THAT HE DIDN’T WANT THE MOMENT TO END SO HE SUGGESTED BUILDING SHELTERS. WHAT PETER DIDN’T REALIZE WAS THAT HE WAS ACTUALLY TRYING TO PREVENT JESUS FROM DOING WHAT HE CAME TO DO WHICH WAS TO SUFFER AND DIE.

I SOMETIMES WONDER JUST HOW MANY TIMES PETER HAD TO HEAR JESUS SAY TO HIM "GET BEHIND ME SATAN" BECAUSE OF HIS IMPULSIVE BEHAVIOR THAT INTERFERED WITH THE TRUE MISSION OF JESUS.

TIME AND TIME AGAIN, JESUS TAUGHT THESE MEN THAT BEFORE HE COULD ENTER PERMANENTLY INTO HIS GLORY AND ETERNAL REST HE HAD TO SUFFER AND DIE.

THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT JESUS, ALTHOUGH DISAPPOINTED IN HIS DISCIPLES’ BEHAVIOR, FULLY UNDERSTOOD THEIR REACTION.

IN LOVING PATIENCE JESUS KNEW THAT PETER’S NEARLY INCOHERENT BABBLING WAS DUE TO HIS FEAR. THE MEN WERE LITERALLY SCARED TO DEATH BECAUSE THEY HAD JUST WITNESSED A DAZZLING DISPLAY OF SUPERNATURAL GLORY!

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