Summary: A sermon for Transfiguration of the Lord Sunday.
"On the Mountain and In the Valley"
A friend writes:
When my daughter-in-law noticed that her two-year-old daughter was ignoring her food, she said, "Keri, why aren't you eating?"
Keri replied, "I can't eat; God told me not to."
Her mother chided: "God wouldn't tell you not to eat your supper."
Keri looked up at the ceiling, then conceded, "Well, maybe it was Moses."
This morning's Gospel Lesson has an intersecting of the Old Testament and the New Testament...
...of the Law and the Prophets--Moses and Elijah...
...and the Son of God Himself--Jesus the Christ.
They meet on a mountain, with Peter, James and John tagging along and witnessing this awe-inspiring and mysterious event.
What does it mean?
We really aren't told.
It is mentioned in 2 Peter chapter 1 where it says, "We didn't repeat crafty myths when we told you about the powerful coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Quite the contrary, we witnessed his majesty with our own eyes.
He received honor and glory from God the Father when a voice came to him from the magnificent glory, saying, 'This is my dearly loved Son, with whom I am well-pleased.'
We ourselves heard this voice from heaven while we were with him on the holy mountain."
So, Peter, James and John...
...on the Mount of Transfiguration "witnessed [Jesus'] majesty with their own eyes."
Now the transfiguration took place six days after Peter made the great confession of faith: "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God."
It happened six days after Jesus confided in His disciples that "he had to go to Jerusalem...to be killed and raised on the third day."
It happened six days after Peter "took hold of Jesus and" scolded Jesus saying, "This won't happen to you."
This happened six days after Jesus "turned to Peter and said, 'Get behind me Satan. You are a stone that could make me stumble, for you are not thinking God's thoughts but human thoughts."
This happened six days after Jesus turned to all the disciples to tell them that if they wanted to follow Him, they had to deny themselves and take up their cross.
He told them that in trying to save their lives they would lose their lives, but in losing their lives for Christ they would find life itself.
Then Jesus says, "I assure you that some standing here won't die before they see the Human One coming in his kingdom," which...
...in many ways, occurs only six days later.
For up on that mountain Jesus appears before the eyes of three of them with Moses, who spoke directly with God, and shined with a glory from having been with God...
...and Jesus appears before their eyes speaking with Elijah, who was visited by God's still, small voice and who saw fire on his offering.
And as I mentioned, Moses and Elijah are also symbolic of both the Law and the Prophets, whom Jesus fulfills--and God's voice says of Jesus: "Listen to him."
Some scholars have noted that Moses died, while Elijah didn't die...
...and so they may represent "the living and the dead" who are all under the care of God.
But it is Jesus, not Moses nor Elijah Who takes center stage!!!
Jesus is the One Who is "transformed..."
...and "His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as snow."
And Jesus is the One Whom God tells the disciples to listen to...
...and Jesus touches the disciples, tells them to "Get up" and "Don't be afraid."
And "when they looked up they saw no one except Jesus."
And isn't Jesus all we are to see as well?
No matter where we look we are to see no one but Jesus.
No matter where we are we are to see on one but Jesus.
No matter who we look at we are to see no one but Jesus!!!
That is what transforms us and our world--no one but Jesus!!!
In the Book of Daniel, it says that those who are wise will "shine like the stars."
But Jesus outranks all the wise; Jesus shines like the sun!!!
And the sun is where everything else gets its light, or reflects its light.
And Jesus' Light is so strong that it not only affects His face, but His clothing and His disciples as well!!!
They will, after all, eventually become like their Master, as Jesus Himself promised in Matthew 13:43: "the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father."
And Jesus calls us--you and me, even..."the light of the world!!!"
How are we living into our calling?
God says, "This is my Son whom I dearly love. I am pleased with him. Listen to him."
Talk about a mountaintop experience!!!
And amazingly, I would guess that many of us who have experienced mountaintop experiences can, at least in some small way, relate to what the disciples experience on the Mount of Transfiguration.