Summary: A sermon preached on Transfiguration Sunday with a focus on seeing the the daily challenges of life through the lens of Christ's light.
I had a problem recently that I’m sure many of my fellow glasses wearers out there will be able to relate to. I went to work without my glasses. Cue a day of getting children mixed up, getting the dinner numbers wrong (this is a big crime in a primary school), using a permanent marker on the whiteboard (this is an even bigger crime) and using the wrong coffee cup in the staff room (this is the biggest crime of all).
To say we have a reliance on our eyes is an understatement.
I did a bit of research on eyes and, apparently, they are composed of over 2 million working parts and they’re the second most complex organ after the brain. But what really interested me is that experts say that 80% of our memories are determined by what we see. The same percentage of what we learn is through our eyes. What we see forms a central basis for how we make sense of the world around us and how we then relate to it.
This morning, we will all have an opportunity to begin seeing the world, the situations we find ourselves in and our lives in general in a whole new light.
Over 2000 years ago, the disciples Peter, James and John saw something rather unusual. In the event we now know as the Transfiguration, these men saw Jesus transformed before them on a high mountain. The Bible tells us that ‘his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them’ (Mark 9:3). As this happened they witnessed Jesus talking to Elijah and Moses. We’re also told that ‘a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved son, listen to him.” (Mark 9:7). As you can imagine they were terrified by this. Peter obviously didn’t know what to say because he offered to build three tents for glowing figures. It’s clear that, at that time, the disciples couldn’t make sense of what they were seeing and it would be a while until they would.
The saying goes that hindsight is 20/20 and as Peter, James and John reflected on this event after the death, resurrection and ascension of Christ they would have seen it with new eyes. They would have, as we see all throughout scripture, recognised the setting of the mountain as a place where humanity meets God, where the temporal meets the eternal. As they looked back upon the cloud and the voice from heaven saying ‘” This is my beloved son,’” they would have been reminded that Jesus wasn’t just a man but was, in fact, the very Son of God, the true and only connection between humanity and the Father. A connection broken and marred by sin. They would have realised that the radiance around Christ, the intense whiteness was, in fact, a manifestation of His glory. The glory of the one true God in the form of God the Son. The one who comes to seek and save the lost. The one who comes to restore humanity back into a right relationship with the Father. The one who comes to undo the works of darkness and release all who accept Him back into their true destiny as people who know and are known by God as loving members of His family.
But the fact is, as we look around the world today and even examine our own hearts, many people do not know and accept this truth. This is a difficult truth to listen to but the opposite of sight is blindness and our passage today states that ‘the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ’ (2 Cor 4:4). ‘God of this world’ could be more accurately translated as god of this present age or god of this world system. It is a clear reference to the Satan. As we look around our world it is clear that all is not what it ought to be. We see pain and sickness and death. We see poverty and war and famine. We see human trafficking and greed and murder. These things are all a result of the nature of fallen and sinful men alongside the schemes of the devil. Our mistake here would be to claim that the devil orchestrates these things for the sake of themselves but, as destructive and damaging as they are they are not the devil’s primary aim. The primary aim of the devil is to blind us to the truth of who God is and who we can be in Him. I’ll say that again, the primary aim of the devil is to blind us to the truth of who God is and who we can be in Him. He wants to drive us further and further into the darkness and therefore further and further away from the glory and light of Christ. Sadly, we don’t need to look for very long to see the impact of this. Some of you may remember a recent interview with Stephen Fry where, in response to the suffering he sees around him, he states, and I warn you it’s difficult to listen to, ‘How dare you create a world to which there is such misery that is not our fault. It’s not right, it’s utterly, utterly evil. Why should I respect a capricious, mean-minded, God who creates a world that is so full of injustice and pain?’