Summary: Our experience with Jesus on the mountain top affects us and sustains us for the rest of our lives and minstry.
Title: What Happens on the Mountain Doesn’t Stay on the Mountain
Text: Mark 9:2-9
Thesis: The most important turning point in our lives is when we only see Jesus.
Robert Frost spoke of turning points when he wrote, The Road Not Taken.
“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
This morning I’d like for us to think about a turning point – a pivotal moment in which we change direction, for better or for worse. This morning it is the story of the Transfiguration of Jesus Christ that proves to be a turning point in his life and the lives of his closest friends. It was the road less traveled by that made all the difference.
For the early church, the Transfiguration served as a restatement that Jesus was the son of God, and that he had the authority to speak and act in God’s name.
Up to now, he’d been teaching, preaching and healing in the area north of the Sea of Galilee. After the Transfiguration, all that stopped. He came down the mountain and headed south. As Luke put it, “He intently set his face to go to Jerusalem.” Luke 9:51 On Wednesday we begin our Lenten Journey on Ash Wednesday and from there we move through the Lenten Season to Holy Week and the Cross.
This morning I want to speak to the significance of several observations I’ve made in our text today. The first question that came to mind is the significance of Jesus taking Peter, James and John with him to the mountain.
I. What is the significance of Jesus taking Peter, James and John with him?
Six days later Jesus took Peter, James and John and led them up a high mountain to be alone. As the men watched Jesus’ appearance was transformed and his clothes became dazzling white, far whiter than any earthly bleach could make them. Mark 9:2-3
The story started off ordinary enough. Jesus and his three closest friends, Peter, James, and John, went up on a high mountain. Nothing unusual. Jesus often went off from the crowds to pray and rest. All very ordinary. But from here on, ordinary ends. No sooner do they arrive than Jesus is suddenly “Transfigured.” He “glowed.” As the text has it, “his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them.” Not only out of the ordinary, but absolutely other worldly and frightening, which, of course is precisely what the story wants to convey?
There is a true story of a 33-year-old truck driver by the name of Larry Walters who was sitting in his lawn chair in his backyard one day wishing he could fly. For as long as he could remember he had wanted to fly but he had never had the time or money or opportunity to be a pilot. So he spent a lot of summer afternoons sitting in his backyard in his ordinary collapsible, old riveted, aluminum chair with its nylon webbing. One day Larry hooked 45 helium-filled surplus weather balloons to his chair, put a CB radio in his lap, tied a paper bag full of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to his leg and slung a BB-gun over his shoulder to pop the balloons when he wanted to come down. He lifted off in his lawn chair expecting to climb a couple of hundred feet over his neighborhood. But instead he shot up 11,000 feet right through the approach corridor to the Los Angeles International Airport. When asked by the press why he did it, Larry answered: “Well, you can’t just sit there.” When asked if he was scared, he answered, “Yes, wonderfully so.”
Larry Walters saw things and felt things that shaped the way he lived the rest of his life. And it was on the Mt. of Transfiguration that Peter, James and John experienced things that shaped their lives for the rest of their lives.
The second question that comes to mind is: