Summary: We Have Seen His Glory 1) It shines forth in truth and grace 2) It shines forth in us
Wouldn’t you like to have been on that mountain? On the Mount of Transfiguration Jesus turned as bright as the sun and his clothes flashed like lightning. Wouldn’t you like to have seen that? When the other disciples heard what Peter, James, and John had witnessed they must have felt like we do when someone tells us about an awesome northern lights display we missed. At least if you miss the northern lights, chances are you’ll still see pictures of the display in the paper the next morning. The same can’t be said of God’s glory though can it? No camera recorded the events on the Mount of Transfiguration. Nor was there a video crew capturing the time Moses spent enveloped in the consuming-fire-like glory of God on Mt. Sinai hundreds of years earlier. You know, as a 21st century Christian I feel a little cheated. God’s glory seems to make regular appearances to the people of the Bible but not to us. Oh, but that’s not true, says the Apostle Paul in our text this morning. He insists that we have seen God’s glory. Where? Let’s find out.
It’s understandable if you think Paul must be joking when he says that we have seen God’s glory. I dare say that when you return home from a Sunday service you don’t feel as if you’ve witnessed anything glorious. No angels led the singing. No fireworks accompanied the pastor’s sermon. “Boring.” You may have even used that word to describe your worship and your faith. According to our Old Testament lesson, however, “boring” is not the word that would have come to the minds of those under the leadership of Moses. Whether Moses went for a hike up Mt. Sinai or for a stroll into the backroom of the tabernacle it ended in a gust of glory. God’s presence was manifested with such intensity that Moses’ own countenance started pulsating with this glory - so much so that when his brother Aaron and the other leaders saw Moses they ran away in fear (Exodus 34:29 ff.).
Yeah. That’s what I’m talking about Lord. Give me some of that glory so that when people walk through these doors they’re wowed by your brilliance, not simply amused by the sheen reflecting off my chrome dome. I do have thoughts like that from time to time but today the Apostle Paul sets me straight. He makes it clear that Moses’ ministry, as glorious as it was, doesn’t compare to the ministry of New Testament heralds. Paul put it this way in the verses leading up to our text: “Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, fading though it was, 8 will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? 9 If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! 10 For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. 11 And if what was fading away came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts!” (2 Corinthians 3:7-11)