Summary: We can be changed into the people God wants us to be through the mountaintop and valley experiences of life.
Mark 9: 2 – 9 / The Beauty Remains. The Pain Passes.
Intro: The process of metamorphosis has always fascinated me. It is best seen in the life cycle of the butterfly which lays eggs on a leaf. A small larva emerges, molts a few times each time getting bigger. Finally, it becomes a pupa hanging from the plant in a cocoon of spun silk. After a few days it emerges as a beautiful butterfly. WOW! In a way, this is what Peter, James and John experiences that day on the mountaintop.
I. Somehow, Jesus is changed. VS. 2 & 3
A. (Metemorpothe) – GK for changed form. / radiance / brilliance / shining from within.
B. garments became radiant (stilbein) – glistening / gleaming / sort of like brass or glass glistens in bright sunlight.
C. Jesus was changed, empowered, reassured that he was on the right path by this encounter with God. Perhaps you have had just such an encounter that has changed you.
II. Ghost hunter program on TV. “Would you appear before me?” VS. 4 – Moses and Elijah appeared. WHY? It just happened!
A. Moses – supreme law-giver – authority of the law of God.
B. Elijah – first/ greatest prophet – revered as the voice of God.
C. Both are speaking to Jesus – Symbolically, Jesus brings it all together.
III. VS. 7 – As if it weren’t scary enough, now they are in a cloud and there is this voice!
A. The appearance of God in a cloud / Moses at Sinai, the Tabernacle in the desert wanderings / filled the Temple at the dedication.
B. Voice at the baptism of Jesus that only Jesus heard. Here the disciples hear as well. There are valleys coming and this experience gives them something to hold on to, even when they couldn’t understand.
C. “This is my beloved Son, listen to him.” Instructions are to listen to Jesus in every situation: good, bad and questionable. You can’t skip from mountaintop to mountaintop without going through the valleys of life. It is the valley that makes the mountaintop so great!
Conclu: Like the butterfly, we cannot continue to live as a caterpillar. We must go through the various stages of development in our faith in order to become the beautiful creature God intends us to be. Life for the butterfly is not always easy. The same is true for us. Sometimes we must grow, sometimes we must wait, sometimes we must struggle.
French impressionist painters Henri Matisse and August Renoir were the closest of friends. Renoir’s health failed and the final decades of his life he was nearly paralyzed with arthritis. Yet, he continued to paint fighting tortuous pain with each movement and stroke of the brush. Matisse asked, “August why do you continue to paint when you are in such agony?” --- Renoir never looked up. His eyes were fixed on the canvas with complete concentration when he answered, “The beauty remains. The pain passes.”