Summary: God has a plan, and He is working that plan. The transfiguration was part of that plan, and it is a great example of how God works, and His purpose.
Passage: Matthew 17:1-13
Intro: We have been watching God construct a building.
1. brick by brick, plank and beam, God has been building a revelational framework that is taking clear shape in front of us.
2. the miraculous birth of Christ, the words of Christ, the actions and attitudes of Christ, the miracles and the gracious character of Christ has been revealed with growing clarity.
3. we have also seen that for those who have rejected the revelation, there is a withholding of further revelation.
PP Matthew 16:4
4. but in this passage, we have the reality of deepening revelation, strikingly powerful revelation to those who believe.
5. God’s revelation is reaching a crescendo, the building is coming together in fullness right in front of us.
6. let’s climb the mountain and listen in.
I. Limited Revelation
1. it was a small group that trudged up Mt. Miron
PP Mt. Miron, the highest mountain in Israel, just short of 4000 ft, NW of Capernaum
2. clearly limited, even among disciples.
3. Why? Still looking for faith, limiting power of revelation so real faith required.
4. best guess? God satisfied with the growing faith of this trio, so entrusted further revelation to them.
5. and even in this group, he made it clear they were to tell no one else, not even the other disciples. V9
6. there is a principle here we need to understand.
7. God is in charge of the revelational process.
8. He reveals in His time, according to His plan, and seeks a response of faith.
9. when faith exists, revelation increases.
10. where faith is not evident, revelation continues but does not increase.
11. we saw this a few weeks ago in… PP Romans 1:21
Il) when someone rejects the principles of arithmetic, it makes no sense to try and explain algebra.
12. so these faithful disciples were about the receive a powerful revelation.
II. Overwhelming Revelation
1. Luke 9 says Jesus was praying, disciples sleeping when this event took place.
2. but there was an awesome event that took place on that mountaintop, which Matthew describes as a “metapmorphosis”
3. the word is powerful, means that what is inside is revealed on the outside.
4. so it is not a change, but a revealing of what has been there all along but not visible.
PP Monarch Butterfly Metamorphosis (youtube)
5. as I read the description given, I was stunned by similarity to another passage.
6. John experienced both; one here and the other in Revelation 1
PP side by side comparison of this and Revelation 1:13
- “son of man” v7
-face like the sun
-witnesses fall down
-Jesus touches and calms
-“don’t be afraid”
-resurrection reference v7
7. this transfiguration, with Moses and Elijah as witnesses, was overwhelming
8. and no doubt it became a huge touchstone for the disciples as they proclaimed the gospel.
9. what causes them to pass out? God Himself came and spoke.
PP Bright cloud
10. words of affirmation, instruction.
11. Peter was blabbering when God began to speak.
12. friends, I know that in our day it is fashionable to have “conversations” as we seek to find the truth.
13. but it is appropriate and right in this search to stop talking and listen to the Revealer.
14. not what we think, but what God says that matters.
15. God is tireless in His revelational work, continues in the face of unbelief.
16. He will be exalted in all the earth, and the very best thing we can do is bow before His righteousness and believe what He reveals, for it is for our great blessing that He is graciously revealing the truth.
Il) using groups like the Gideons to do it, part of the great revelational force that has been going out into the world for thousands of years.
17. make no mistake: the perfection of God’s revelation is beyond doubt. He is satisfying His own righteousness with it’s power and clarity.
18. the only thing that clouds it is unbelief.
III. Deepening Revelation
1. I imagine the three amigos were emotionally wrung out after this event.
2. had seen Christ revealed in His glory, witnessed Moses and Elijah, been enveloped in the glory of God and heard God speak.
3. so Jesus called them to their feet with a tender touch, and He was once again their familiar friend.
4. and yet I doubt if they would ever look at him the same again.
5. they received their instructions on silence, and heard once again the reference to death and resurrection.
6. and that resurrection would be the capstone for the revelational plan of God, and much less surprising to them now that they had witnessed this transfiguration.
Il) revelation comes to each of us in bite- sized chunks. That’s why we have SS, Awana, CC, youth group. “Age- appropriate” recognizes that the greatness of revelation is understood and absorbed in growing complexity.