Summary: A sermon for Transfiguratiion Sunday
2* And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves; and he was transfigured before them,
3* and his garments became glistening, intensely white, as no fuller on earth could bleach them.
4 And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses; and they were talking to Jesus.
5* And 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.”
6* For he did not know what to say, for they were exceedingly afraid.
7* And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.”
8 And suddenly looking around they no longer saw any one with them but Jesus only.
9 And as they were coming down the mountain, he charged them to tell no one what they had seen, until the Son of man should have risen from the dead.
Grace and Peace to you from our Lord and Saviour, Jesus who is the Christ. Amen
We come to the time in the church year when we talk about mountain top experiences. Jesus takes three disciples to a high mountain top and Jesus become transfigured. He is changed. And then two figures appear with Him, Moses and Elijah. They speak to one another.
It is a grand experience. Peter wants to keep the experience alive by building three booths, or places of worship, so they could worship Jesus, Moses and Elijah. It was so grand of an experience.
Then a voice comes out of a cloud and says: “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.” God spoke to these disciples telling them once again that Jesus was His beloved Son. These words were similar to the words spoken at Jesus’ Baptism, remember what they said, Mark 1:11 "and a voice came from heaven, “Thou art my beloved Son; with thee I am well pleased.” Notice that in the words on the mountain, God adds one request he says for the disciples to listen to Jesus. I don’t know if God said these words like a mother telling a child, "listen to me" being angry or commanding, or was it a gentile reminder, Disciples just listen to Him. What ever the case, God wanted the disciples to listen to Jesus.
Then it was all over. Jesus told them not to tell anyone and they were to go back down the mountain. There was no time to stay there and worship as Peter wanted. There was no time to stay isolated from the cares of the world below. No, they had to go back down the mountain.
The disciples wanted the experience to last, they wanted this special religious experience to last. They wanted to stay on top of the mountain away from the cares of the world.
I remember when Wanda and I took a vacation out west and we traveled to Pike’s Peak. It was a steep and winding road that led up to the top of that mountain. There we parked the car, got out and went to the observation platform and looked out in all directions. It was truly a wondrous sight.
Then all of a sudden a storm blew in. The wind started to blow, the rain came and the lightening started to flash in the sky. The guide yelled for everyone to come inside, but I was so enthralled by the beauty of the storm, that I lingered. I did not want to leave that great majesty that was all around me. Then, in an instant, lightning flashed again, just a few feet from where I stood, and I hurried into the shelter, still drawn by the beauty outside, but weary of the storm and its ill effects.
That mountain top experience was glorious. I wanted to stay.
The disciple wanted to stay. They wanted to stay isolated in their own religious experience like the campers in the following:
The Rev. Bob Stump tells about camping with his family: "One of our favorite parts of camping is sitting by the camp fire late into the evening. Its circle of light provides a wonderful setting for quiet conversation and warm fellowship."
Most of the other campers have their fires, too. They sit and have quiet conversation and warm fellowship in their own private circles of light. Rarely do the campers leave their circles of light and venture out into the darkness. And almost never do they venture from their own circles of light to invade another circle. Each camping group is content in its own circle of light, safe from the darkness and secluded from outsiders in its own exclusive fellowship."