Summary: A sermon for the Tranfiguration Sunday
"Our Lenten Pilgrimage"
17:1* ¶ And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain apart.
2* And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his garments became white as light.
3* And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him.
4* And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is well that we are here; if you wish, I will make three booths here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.”
5* He was still speaking, when lo, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”
6* When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces, and were filled with awe.
7* But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and have no fear.”
8 And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.
9* And as they were coming down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, “Tell no one the vision, until the Son of man is raised from the dead.”
Grace and peace to you from our Lord and Saviour, Jesus who is the Christ. Amen
This Sunday marks a time of transition for us in the movement of the church year. This is the, last Sunday of the Epiphany season, with its .emphasis on the revealing
of Jesus, the manifestation of Jesus, the’ showing who this child was that was born in the manger on Christmas.
During this season, we saw Jesus as the healer, the preacher, the fulfiller of the law, the gatherer, as he called his disciples to follow him. We saw him as one who called not the righteous, but the sinner and in that colling people’s lives were changed.’
And today marks the final revelation of the babe born in the manger, we see Jesus revealed a never before. For on the Mount of Transfiguration, we see what Jesus had
been proclaiming about himself, we see for the first time his divine nature. We see Jesus revealed as the son of God. Matthew describes this transfiguration effect that
Peter, James and John saw in Jesus in this manner,"His face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as the light. This was more than an exterior sign; it was
his divinity shining through his humanity that the select friends of Jesus saw. This was for Jesus and the disciples the assurance that Jesus was the Son of’ God, that all he
had proclaimed about himself was indeed true. The transfiguration was a pit stop for Jesus. The heavenly father knowing the tight race his Son was running, flagged him into the pits right before he began his final lap, his final journey to Jerusalem where he would encounter the cross.
And as we end the season of Epiphany, we begin the season of Lent with our Ash Wednesday service this week. We begin our Lenten pilgrimage with the assurance that we are indeed following the Son of God, no impostor, no pretender, but the Son of God who was revealed through this mountain top experience£ .
Mountains have played an important part of God’s experience with humankind. Moses received the 10 commandments on Mt. Sinai, Elijah heard the still small voice of God while hiding in a cave on a mountain, Abraham was to sacrifice Issac on a mountain, the city of Jerusalem was built on a mountain top and here Jesus is transfigured on a mountain top.
Mountains are one of God’s most beautiful creations. For those of us living here in the middle west, the sight of those rocky mountains are a thrill to behold. Remember
several years John Denver had a hit song entitled "Rocky Mountain High".
In that song John Denver describes the majesty, the thrill of being high up in those mountains seeing for miles around feeling the life of creation . He described the feeling of joy, of peace, of reverence as he was alone on those mountain tops being with nature in that way he.could almost feel the very presence of the creator himself.
Some people have said that the song is too idealistic we can not live with our, "Rocky Mountain ’Highs’. We need to come down off of the mountain down into the valleys, down were we can be a service to people who are feeling the brokenness of this world.
But these high feelings can give us ’the strength, the encouragement; the peace of heart and soul as we struggle with the brokenness of life in the valleys.
The experience that Jesus; and the disciples experienced on the mount of transfiguration gave them, and especially Jesus the encouragement he needed to continue his journey to the cross. Here they encounter not ’only the physical majesty of God through the beauty of’ the mountains, but they encountered first hand God’s voice,and God’s relationship to human history through the persons of Moses and Elijah. Meeting these two people from the Old Testament is important for it shows that Jesus is linked with.the past history of the nation’ of Israel. This was God s effort to tie Jesus in tightly with the past, to root him firmly in Israel’s history. Two of Israel’s biggest saints are here on the mountain, two close.companions of God. Moses, leader of Israel. and Elijah, prophet of Israel. We. can count on the fact that Jesus knew who he was talking to. This history lesson on the mountain top was a valuable experience for .Jesus and the disciples. It showed Jesus that indeed God was fulfilling his plans that were begun with, the call of Abraham, through him, and it told the disciples that, Jesus was God’s son, the longed for redeemer of Israel.