Summary: A sermon for Transfiguration Sunday
"Glory, Praise and Movement"
28 ¶ Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray.
29 And as he was praying, the appearance of his countenance was altered, and his raiment became dazzling white.
30 And behold, two men talked with him, Moses and Elijah,
31 who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was to accomplish at Jerusalem.
32 Now Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep, and when they wakened they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him.
33 And as the men were parting from him, Peter said to Jesus, "Master, it is well that we are here; let us make three booths, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah" --not knowing what he said.
34 As he said this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were afraid as they entered the cloud.
35 And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, "This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!"
36 And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silence and told no one in those days anything of what they had seen.RSV
Grace and Peace to you from our Lord and Saviour, Jesus who is the Christ. Amen
"A teacher in a Sunday School class was reading the story of the Transfiguration. As she read, she noticed one little boy seemed confused. When she was finished, she asked him, "Johnny, why don’t you tell us where Jesus was in this story.
He replied,, "Oh, he was on a mountain."
"Yes, that’s right",said the teacher, "Do you remember why he was up there?"
Johnny answered with a confused look, "I guess that’s where his arithmetic class was held!!"
The teacher looked at him and wondered what he meant. "What do you mean, arithmetic class?"
"Well". Johnny replied, "The Bible said, ’Jesus went up on the mountain and there he BEGAN TO FIGURE’"
The teacher smiled and said,’ The scripture said He went onto the mountain and there He BECAME TRANSFIGURED - NOT BEGAN TO FIGURE "
Johnny didn’t understand the Transfiguration and I dare say many of us don’t either. The gospel lesson says, "And as he was praying, the appearance of his countenance was altered and his raiment became dazzling white." Jesus was changed, he was transformed and in this process two figures from the past came to meet him, Moses and Elijah. This was a marvelous experience for Jesus because it gave him the heavenly assurance he was on the right path, the path to Jerusalem and the cross. He was assured of his place in the Father’s plan of salvation as two others appeared who had been in that same plan.
We can read the story, we can understand the words, but what does it all mean? What does it mean for us this transfiguration??
I think the best way for us to understand this event so we aren’t as confused as Johnny was, is to look at 3 key words, glory, praise and movement. .
First glory. This word glory is used many times in this text. It means awe, wonder, splendor Christ in all of His glory means in all of His godly might, in all the splendor of heaven. In this transfiguration, Jesus becomes again as God. As John’s gospel says, the word was with God and the word was God. Jesus was the word of God and now that word of God became like God again. He became the king and lord of life. He broke forth from this life, to be what He really was, God the almighty.
Have you had to fly in a airplane on a cloudy rainy day? I have and as the plane climbs up toward the clouds, you can see the rain, the lightening all around. To be in the middle of that is to see some powerful and scary power. However the plane keeps climbing and then all of a sudden you have climbed out of the clouds. You can look down and see the thunderheads and the lightening streaking across the sky. But around the plane now is the brilliant sun, the deep blue of the sky. It is calm and it is peaceful. You settle back in the seat no longer tense, no longer afraid of the wind, the rain and the lightening. Now you can sit back and enjoy the quiet of the ride, the beauty of the sky, the peace.
The transfiguration was just that kind of experience for Jesus and the disciples. They for a moment, left the clouds, the rain, the brokenness of this life to go up the mountain to be with Jesus. They went to see from where Jesus had come from, to see where they would go because of him.