Summary: If we glimpse the glory ahead for every believer, we’ll be able to carry the cross today when times are hard.
Three store owners shared adjacent storefronts in the same building. Times were tough.
In hopes of picking up sales, the owner of the shop at one end of the building put a sign over his front entrance that said, YEAR-END CLEARANCE!!!
At the other end of the building, another owner responded with his own sign: ANNUAL CLOSE-OUT.
The owner of the store in the middle knew he had to act fast or he’d lose business. After careful consideration, he hung a larger sign over his front door that read, MAIN ENTRANCE. (Ivan R. Misner, The World’s Best Known Marketing Secret, Bard Press, 1997, p.30-31; www.PreachingToday.com)
When times are tough, people come up with all kinds of schemes to get by, but Jesus has a much better idea.
In Mark 8, Jesus warned his followers that there were going to be hard times ahead, but He also gave them a way to endure the pain. He gave them a way to get through the tough times with joy.
Mark 9:1 And he said to them, “I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God come with power.” (NIV)
Now, you have to remember that Jesus just told His disciples that they will suffer for His sake, that a cross awaits them. But that’s not all! There is a Kingdom on the other side of that cross, and Jesus tells them that some of them will see a powerful display of that Kingdom before they die. They will see the glory that awaits them after the pain. Well, they didn’t have to wait long.
Mark 9:2 After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. (NIV)
On that glorious and majestic Mount Herman, towering into the sky just north of Caesarea Philippi… On a mountain that many pagans in the area considered to be the home of the gods… There, in that place, Jesus was “transfigured.” He was changed right before their very eyes.
The Greek word is metamorphothay, from which we get our word, metamorphosis. In other words, just like a worm changes into a butterfly, so Jesus’ appearance changed on that mountain.
Mark 9:3 His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. (NIV)
Jesus shone like the sun! It was as if the costume of His humanity was lifted, and the bright light of His deity shown through.
Later in life, Peter would recall this occasion and write, “We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty” (2 Peter 1:16).
Towards the end of his life, John too would see Jesus like this again in all His glory. In the book of Revelation, John records that appearance of Christ before him personally and says, “His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace… (Revelation 1:14-15).
Later, in the book of Revelation, John describes Christ’s appearance before the entire world at His second coming. He writes, “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True… His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns” (Revelation 19:11-12).
You see, Peter, James and John, on this Mount of Transfiguration, caught a glimpse of what Jesus would look like when He returns to this earth to set up His Kingdom. They caught a glimpse of the glory ahead. But that’s not all.
Mark 9:4 And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus. (NIV)
They saw the premier law-giver, Moses, and they saw the premier prophet, Elijah, talking with Jesus. In other words, they saw "the Kingdom of God come with power,” where the believers from all the ages will gather.
And that’s what we need to see, if we’re going to endure the hard times with grace and joy. By faith, we need to see what’s coming for all of us who choose to follow Jesus. We need to…
GLIMPSE THE GLORY AHEAD.
We need to understand not just the pain, but the power to come. We need to appreciate not just the hard times, but the victory ahead. We need to grasp not just the cross, but the crown to follow.
On September 2, 1945, the Japanese and designated representatives of allied nations signed the documents of surrender officially ending World War II. General Douglas MacArthur officiated at the ceremony aboard the USS Missouri and was the last to sign on behalf of the United States.