Summary: A pre-lenten sermon on the importance of having a close relationship with Christ Jesus.
Luke 9: 28 – 36 Stop, Look and Listen
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. When my sons were little they played with a toy that I found most interesting. Recently 2 movies have been made about those toys: transformers. I could never “transform” those toys as easily as my sons; they absolutely amazed me.
A. VSS. 29 – 31 Imagine the scene. Jesus was praying on a mountaintop. Suddenly, Jesus changes: face changed / clothes shone. He was transformed. Some would say that this proves Jesus was an alien from outer space.
B. The interesting thing about the transformers my kids played with were made out of plastic. Even when they were changed / transformed, they were still plastic.
C. In 2000, Barbara and I were married and on our honeymoon, we went to my 35th class reunion. People at that reunion saw a different person. Not only had I changed; but they had changed as well.
II. VSS. 33 – Peter sees this “changed” Jesus and wants this experience to last for awhile.
A. Search your memory for an experience where you felt close to God: a concert, a place of great beauty, and experience you don’t want to end. 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! As wonderful as the experience of the Hallelujah Chorus was, I knew it wouldn’t last forever.
B. Peter, James and John were also transformed, changed by that experience. . . But, it couldn’t last forever. There was 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.
C. Neither can we stay on the mountaintop. Life will carry us on a road of twists, turns, dead ends, deep ruts and uphill climbs. There are times when we long for the mountaintop experiences and the shining face of our Lord.
III. Peter, James and John were changed forever because of what they experienced on that mountaintop. Life would never be the same and neither would they. VS. 35 – “A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.”
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. Has Jesus been transformed for you? Is he a lifeless character in a book called the Bible? Has he become your personal friend, intimate savior, Lord of your life?
B. Have you ever come to a railroad crossing that doesn’t have any electronic signals, flashing lights or crossing guard arms? When you do, there are 3 things you 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.