Summary: A sermon for Transfiguration Sunday Series A
The Transfiguration of Our Lord
The last Sunday in Epiphany
"And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain apart. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his garments became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. And Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it is well that we are here; if you wish, I will make three booths here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah." He was still speaking, when lo, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him." When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces, and were filled with awe. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, "Rise, and have no fear." And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only. And as they were coming down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, "Tell no one the vision, until the Son of man is raised from the dead."" Matthew 17:1-9, RSV.
Grace and Peace to you from our Lord and Saviour, Jesus who is the transforming Christ. Amen
Our gospel lesson this morning is the familiar story of Jesus going up upon the mountain and taking the disciples, Peter, James, and John with him. Then that marvelous thing happens, Jesus is transformed, changed.
And we call this Transfiguration Sunday. That is a strange word. We in this business of religion do have some strange words.
I should like to list some of them for you.
These words which we use to describe things in our church give to them a special name which separates them from the mundane things around them. It makes this place and these things special.1
So too does that word Transfiguration. It is a name which makes this Sunday in the church year special, a day set aside because on this day something special happened to Jesus.
The season of Epiphany is called the season of light. The light of Christ coming into this world. This season began with the Baptism of Jesus and now ends with the Transfiguration. Both of these Sundays remind us and reminded Jesus who exactly he was.
And this Sunday reinforces for these disciple who Jesus is.
God used this transforming event to show Jesus he was indeed the son of God and it showed the disciples that Jesus came from their past with Moses and Elijah being there. And God’s voice at the end of the transformation telling the disciples to listen to Jesus was the final event that showed who Jesus actually is.
When my son, Anthony, was younger, his favorite toys were Transformers. There was more to these innocent-looking little toys than met the eye. Often packaged as trucks or cars, a few deft movements would transform them into grotesque monsters or powerful super heroes. Whenever my son would receive a new Transformer, he would sit mesmerized by it, moving each movable part until a new figure emerged. A Transformer was really a toy within a toy.
And this Sunday really shows us who Jesus is.
Jesus was a man born on this earth, but today we see His full glory, His transformed glory as he sits and talks with Moses and Elijah.
And this day showed the disciples exactly who Jesus was. God used their past history as a lesson. He showed the disciples that Jesus was linked to their past, but also through His commanding voice says: "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him."
This statement showed the disciple exactly who Jesus was. This was God’s son and God was pleased with what Jesus was doing.
And God made it clear to the disciples that what Jesus was saying to them was important, they were to listen to Jesus, period.
In this appearance to the disciples of Moses, Elijah and the voice of God was telling these disciple who Jesus is. He was answering the question which must of been on the minds of the disciples since their call to follow Him.
Who is this guy?
In the following story the star witness did not show up.
A man was arraigned for murder in Los Angeles about 60 years ago. It was a difficult case with a lot of circumstantial evidence.
The man’s defense lawyer, however, thought of an ingenious ploy. In his summing up speech, he said:
"Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, you must find my client not guilty of murder - if there is the slightest doubt in your minds that he is not the murderer.