Summary: A sermon for Transfiguration of the Lord.
“So, What Do We Do About It?”
Have you ever been in a group of people where someone told a joke and everyone laughed except you?
And you’re thinking: “I don’t get it. I missed the point.”
Or perhaps you are in a group of people where someone makes a point and everyone else nods in agreement—except you?
And you are left thinking: “I don’t have any idea what they are talking about.”
Today’s Gospel Lesson can be like that.
And not just for us, I think it was like that for Peter, James and John as well.
There can be no doubt that this is a mysterious story.
And just to prove the point, scholars and theologians have all kinds of differing opinions or guesses or interpretations as to why this situation occurred in the first place.
Why did Jesus go through some sort of a meta-morphosis as He prayed on that mountain?
Why did Elijah and Moses appear and start talking to Jesus about “His upcoming departure”?
If you are wondering these things, you are not alone.
Perhaps Jesus, preparing for His crucifixion, is getting a pep-talk from these two giants in the faith.
Maybe it happened in order for Peter, James and John to see that Jesus is, indeed, both human and divine…
…and to hear God Himself proclaim to them: “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.”
I mean, think about it.
There are going to be some really tough times ahead for these guys.
They are going to watch Jesus die.
Their faith is going to be tested in ways they never imagined possible.
They are going to see evil at its worst.
They are going to be scared to death.
They are going to scatter.
They are going to hide.
They are going to deny ever knowing this Jesus they have come to love and devote their lives too.
Things aren’t going to be all rosy.
There is a real world out there.
Times are about to get horribly tough.
But through following Christ, even though it will eventually cost them their lives, God will use them as instruments to change the course of history.
“So come to the Mountaintop,” says God.
“I’m going to show you something that is going to take your breath away.”
“I am going to give you a glimpse of the divine.”
“I am going to show you—first hand—Who Jesus is.”
Now, in order to get just a small taste of what a big deal this transfiguration thing is we have to try and put ourselves in Peter, James and John’s shoes.
Moses and Elijah were heroes of the Jewish faith.
They had grown up hearing about them all the time.
Think of it this way: “How would you react, or what would go through your head if your third-grade elementary school teacher took you to the top of a mountain where he or she was then joined by George Washington and Abraham Lincoln?
Or what if we all took a hike to the top of Lookout Mountain.
And all of a sudden, John the Baptist, Peter, Paul and Jesus started talking to our Sunday school teacher?
What would that do to your faith?
Would you be transfixed?
Would you be scared to death?
Would it be such an amazing experience that you would want to build a big church up there and never leave?
Would you really feel like coming back down the mountain to Red Bank, Downtown Chattanooga, or Ringgold after something like that?
Would you want to go back to the heartache, brokenness, misery, violence, poverty stricken, drug infested, ugly reality of much of our world after something like that?
Peter, James and John were on the Mountaintop with Jesus.
Nothing could hurt them up there.
The pain of the world was suddenly in the distant past.
All worries were forgotten for the moment.
“Peter said, “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.”
Have you ever felt that way?
Have you ever wanted to just go to your comfortable place, build a shrine and never leave?
Have you ever wanted to just get away and stay away from the problems of this world—ignore them, perhaps.
Ever wanted to put your hands over your ears and drown out all the noise?
Or, have you ever had such a mountaintop experience with God that you thought nothing could ever bring you down again?
It’s an important experience to have, but it’s not where we are going to stay if we are going to follow Jesus—if we are going to listen to the voice of God saying: “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.”