Summary: A sermon for Tranfiguration Sunday
"A teacher in a Sunday school class was reading the story of the Transfiguration. As she read, she noticed one little boy seemed confused.
When she was finished she asked him, "Johnny, why don’t you tell us where Jesus was in this story. He replied, "Oh, he was on a mountain."
"Yes, that’s right; said the teacher, "Do you remember why he was up there?"
Johnny answered with a confused look, "I guess that’s where his arithmetic class was held ."
" The teacher looked at him and wondered what he meant. "What do you mean, arithmetic class?"
"Well" Johnny replied, "The Bible said, ’Jesus went up on the mountain and there he BEGAN TO FIGURE " ’
The teacher smiled and said,"The scripture said, He went into the mountain and there He BECAME TRANSFIGURED NOT BEGAN TO FIGURE. "
The Transfiguration of Jesus is a very difficult concept to accept. Jesus takes with him Peter, James and John up on top of a mountain, and upon arriving, Jesus was transfigured, his appearance changed to white and then appearing with him were Moses and Elijah.
Then Peter gets caught up in the moment and wants to stay, but before he can finish his thoughts a voice from a cloud says:"This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Listen to him."
In the Epiphany this experience of the Transfiguration is like a book end. At one end or beginning you have the Baptism of Jesus and now at the end of the Epiphany season, you have the other book end the Transfiguration.
And notice, the words form God are similar in both, at Jesus’ baptism God says "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." and at the Transfiguration he says, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Listen to him." Notice the difference.
God is telling the disciples to listen to Jesus.
For following the Transfiguration, Jesus sets his eyes on Jerusalem. We are entering the season of Lent, where we will see the glory of Jesus and also the cross of Jesus.
The Transfiguration shows us the two sides to Jesus, His glory as he is transformed, and His suffering as he leaves the mountain and sets his eyes on Jerusalem and the cross. He tells the disciples after he comes down from the mountain that the Son of Man, Jesus, will be delivered up and killed but on the third day will be raised up. The Cross and the Glory.
For on this mountain, the disciples had a foretaste, or moments glimpse of what heaven would be like. There on that mountain, stood Jesus in all of his glory, and next to him, the guiding lights of God’s promise to the Jewish people that they would be his chosen ones.
Did the disciples really understand what happened that moment? Did they recognize the importance of that experience?
It is like the boy in the following:
"A little boy who was blind was taken to, a famous specialist who said that an operation might give him sight. After the delicate operation was over, the little fellow opened his eyes and looked at his mother. But he did not know her, knowing only the sound of her voice and the touch of her hand. But when the mother spoke his name, his little arms went around her neck and he said, "Mother, is this heaven?" It was at least a foretaste of heaven. We have heard God’s voice in his Word and felt the loving touch of his guiding hand. But when we see him face to face, it will truly be heaven. "
Did the disciples know this was almost heaven?
Along the way to the cross, we will see whether the disciples really do listen to Jesus. Do the disciples understand in these words of God, that Jesus is the Son of God, and that God the Father really wants the disciples to listen to Him?
If you know anything about scripture, you know that the disciples had a very difficult time listening to Jesus. The human condition of sin gets in the way.
Remember the scripture when Peter tells Jesus, He said to him, "Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death!"
34 Jesus said, "I tell you, Peter, the rooster will by no means crow today, before you deny that you know me three times."
And again in John 6 it says:6 Then he came to Simon Peter. He said to him, "Lord, do you wash my feet?"
7 Jesus answered him, "You don’t know what I am doing now, but you will understand later."
8 Peter said to him, "You will never wash my feet!" Jesus answered him, "If I don’t wash you, you have no part with me."