Summary: Dealing with diffult times
"Strong Hope for Hard Times"
Intro: When have you needed hope?
Here in Matthew 17, we see Jesus giving hope to his disciples. Jesus has begun to prepare his disciples for his death, and as he does this, he also gives them hope to overcome when this happens. Whatever difficult situations lie in your future, God desires to give you the hope to endure and overcome.
I. There is Hope in the Power of a Present Messiah - 1-13
Jesus has just finished telling his disciples in 16:21 that he would be persecuted and killed. The discpiles were not prepared to hear that. They had given up everything to follow Christ. They probably think that now he is "letting them down." They wanted him to bring about his earthly kingdom. Peter has acknowledged that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah. But Jesus has told them that he must die.
#How do you feel when someone gets you to "sign-up" for something, and then backs out at the last moment?
The disciples must feel a little "disillusioned" with Jesus.
Jesus takes the three leaders up on a high mountain so they can get away by themselves. While he is with them, he is transfigured and they see his glory.
Moses & Elijah: represent the law and the prophets
#Imagine if I invited you to golf, Brooks had a friend Jack who kept telling you how to hold your club, how to stand. Suddenly he reveals he is Jack Nicholas. The knowledge of who he is would affect how we follow his instructions.
The disciples had been following based on Jesus’ teaching and their faith. Jesus gives them a visible glimpse of his glory.
A. There is hope in remembering the greatness of God
When we remember the power of our God, we can face any problem, because we know that God has the power to work all things for good.
B. There is hope in remembering our priority is God
Peter wants to put up tents for each of the three. But the Father’s voice reminds them all of the priority of Christ.
*It is easy to get caught up in doing "good things," but we must fill our schedule according to our priorities. Serving God must come first in our lives.
C. There is hope in remembering the plan of God
Jesus tells them to keep this to themselves until after the resurrection. To share it with the crowds would only leave them discouraged when the crucifixion happened. Jesus tells them to wait until after the resurrection. He told them about the resurrection, but they only had ears to hear about his death.
#Do you really believe that God is in control of the affairs of our lives.
*Rabbi Kushner (Why Bad thing happen to good people) -- God not all-powerful
Disciples question about Elijah coming: they interpreted scripture correctly, but missed the truth of what was meant. John the Baptist was Elijah.
So often we think God has to work according to our interpretations. If He doesn’t answer the way we think he should, we think he hasn’t heard or he is uncaring. But God’s ways are always best.
The hope Christ gives his disciples in light of his coming death is that he is God himself, full of glory, full of power, and working on their behalf.
II. There is Hope in the Power of a Pure Faith - 14-21
As soon as Jesus comes down from the mountain, demands are put on him. Did you ever notice you can never ease your way back into work. It seems that whenever you go on vacation, you always come back to a problem waiting for you. Jesus comes down to rejoin his disciples, and they have a problem.
The other nine disciples had been encountered with a demon-possessed boy who had epilepsy. They had been unable to cure him. The interesting thing about this is that they had previously been given authority over demons had had taken a trip healing and casting out demons. Now they are unable to perform.
#Did you ever have a time when God didn’t seem to work for you in the way he used to. We look for God to always work the same way.
Jesus tells his disciples that they were unable to cast out the demon because of "little faith" or weak faith. Maybe they were looking at their ability to cast out demons like "magic", simply needing to "say the magic words" or to perform a magic ritual and everything would happen. But God’s action is not based on ritual or liturgy. God is not as concerned with the words you say as the motives and desires of your heart.
#why are you here today? There is nothing mystical about coming to church. You will only receive a blessing for the response of your heart. Sitting in the pew or putting money into the offering means nothing unless your heart is pure.