Summary: A sermon on the transfiguration of Jesus and how his being "changed" or "transformed" affects our daily living.
Luke 9:28 – 36 Shining Faces
Intro: “A teacher of a primary Sunday School class was reading this passage of scripture to her class. As she read, she noticed Johnny staring at her with a puzzled look. When she finished reading, she asked Johnny to tell her where Jesus was in the story. Johnny answered, “He was on a mountain.” “That’s right,” the teacher responded. “Can you tell me why he was there?” “Because that’s where his math class was held!” “What do you mean,” she asked. “The story said that Jesus went up on the mountain and he began to figure.” --- Johnny didn’t understand the Transfiguration any more than we do. We can read the story, understand all the words; but what does the transfiguration mean to me today?
I. Have you ever flown in an airplane on a cloudy, rainy day? When the plane takes off, it climbs upward through the clouds, the lightening and driving rain and suddenly you break through the clouds to see brilliant sunshine and blue skies. It’s calm and peaceful. You leave the ugliness of the storm behind and can sit back and relax and enjoy the ride.
A. I want you to search your memory right now for an incident or experience where you felt close to God. Perhaps it was a concert, or the sheer beauty of a place that is so moving that perhaps a tear forms at the corner of your eye and you wish the moment would never end.
B. For me, it would have to be the first time I heard the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah sung by the Pittsburgh Symphony Choir. It was magnificent and when it ended, I wanted more!
C. Imagine the scene. Jesus praying on a mountaintop. Suddenly there is a glorious light and Moses and Elijah talking with Jesus. There were no two greater figures in the history of Israel. Is it then, unusual for Peter to say in verse 33 “Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up 3 shelters. . .”
II. As wonderful as the experience of the Hallelujah Chorus was, I knew it wouldn’t last forever. It was the same for Jesus and the 3 disciples; on the mountain. It couldn’t last forever. But they were transfigured, transformed, changed by that experience.
A. We, like Peter, James and John come to the realization the experience won’t last forever. There is more life to be lived and work to be done. Jesus couldn’t stay on the mountaintop because he had God’s plan to fulfill. There was work to be done and a cross in the future.
B. Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, a 40 day journey from the heights of the glory of the transfiguration to the depths of a cross on calvary. Most of society won’t even know it.
C. Even if you choose to ignore Lent, you can’t ignore life which carries us on a road of twists, turns, dead ends, deep ruts and uphill climbs. There will be times when we long for the mountaintop experiences and the shining face of our Lord.
III. Though you may have left the splendor of your mountaintop experience behind you long ago. That splendor has not left you!
A. Lent is a time in the church year where we are encouraged to put on the brakes, to slow down and focus more on our relationship with Christ. Verse 35 – “A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.”
B. Have you ever come to a railroad crossing that doesn’t have any electronic signals, flashing lights or crossing guard arms? There are 3 things we should do, 3 little rules to follow: STOP, LOOK, AND LISTEN.
C. These 3 things also apply to our relationship with Christ. If we believe we have a close relationship with Jesus; but, never stop to look at him and listen to him, our relationship is superficial at best.
Conclu: When you feel alone or afraid, when the dark and dreary places and experiences of life threaten to overtake you and crush you, grab hold of your mountaintop experience with God and know that even though you may not sense God’s presence as keenly as you did then, . . . God is still there.