Summary: As we draw closer to the Jesus who was Transfigured, we will find that God is bigger than all of our problems.
Today is Transfiguration Sunday. On this Sunday in the church year, we call to our memory the event when Jesus Christ went up on the mountain and his appearance radically changed before Moses, Elijah, Peter, James, and John.
Read Luke 9:28-36
Several years ago now, J.B. Phillips wrote a best selling book called, "Your God Is Too Small". One of the most important things that you and I as Christians have to realize today is that OUR GOD IS NOT SMALL. The size of our God reveals itself in our prayer life. Christ’s Transfiguration actually occurs in the midst of a prayer meeting. In Luke 9:28, we are told that Jesus took Peter, James, and John with him up onto a mountain to pray.
I. Give God Our Problems (Luke 9:28)
Jesus gives us perfect examples of how you and I should live and how we should relate to our God. Jesus knew that it was important to give His problems to the Heavenly Father, because anytime He faced a problem, we always find Jesus turns to prayer. Before Jesus was tempted by Satan, he prayed and fasted for 40 days and 40 nights. Before He went to His death on the cross, Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane those words, "Father, let this cup pass from me." And it should be no surprise that before His Transfiguration, Jesus was going up the mountain to pray.
We should note this interesting fact. Matthew (Matthew 17:1) and Mark (Mark 9:2), and Luke all record the story of the Transfiguration, but Luke is the only Gospel writer who takes care to mention that Jesus went up the mountain to pray. Fred Craddock writes that, "The major events and critical moments in the life of Jesus were, according to Luke, marked by prayer." (Source: Preaching Through the Christian Year, page 125).
We need to give God our problems. One of the reasons people don’t give their problems to God is their God is too small.
Illustration: A lady once came to G. Campbell Morgan and told him, "I only take small things to God, because I don’t want to worry him with the big things." Dr. Morgan replied, "Lady, anything you bring to God is small." (Source: A Message on The Urban Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans, Feb. 18, 1998)
Our God is not small, and any problem we could bring to Him is small compared to what He’s already handled. We’re talking about a great and awesome God. He created you and I. He created the universe, and He defeated Satan on the Cross. Our God is not small!
II. Allowing God to Change Us (Luke 9:29)
The most observable thing that happens in the Transfiguration of Christ is Jesus’ appearance dramatically changes on the prayer mountain. Luke 9:29 says, "As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning." Now why does Jesus call Peter, James, and John, his three closest disciples to go up on the mountain with him and witness the Transfiguration? The three disciples are really minor characters in the scene, overshadowed by the miraculous presence of Moses and Elijah. The disciples are here so that The Transfiguration would change them.
In the movie, Shadowlands, about the life of C.S. Lewis, one of Lewis’ colleague’s question him about whether or not his prayers were getting God to help his dying wife. In response C.S. Lewis says, "I do not pray to change God, but I pray because it changes me."
On the mountain of prayer we must allow our view of God to change. Our God is not small. We can’t put God in a box that we create of our own imaginations, and think that we have Him all figured out. Some people fear change, but the Christian ought to fear the absence of change. If you aren’t changing and growing in your relationship with God, than your God is too small. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 2:9, "...it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him."
III. Come Down From the Mountain to A World of Needs (Luke 9:33)
Notice what Peter says in verse 33, "Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters--one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah." And Luke adds a parenthesis (He did not know what he was saying). In other words, Peter’s suggestion was not the response God wanted. God doesn’t want Jesus and the disciples to stay on the mountain. He wants them to come down from the mountain to a world of needs.
Notice what happens in Luke 9:37-45. After Jesus, Peter, James, and John come down from the mountain, the very next day, they healed a boy with an evil spirit. What would have happened to that boy if Peter would have had his way, and they would have stayed on the mountain. The boy would still have been possessed by the evil spirit and suffering tremendously.