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3-3-19 Sermon

Transfiguration Sunday  Luke 9:28-36

 

And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!”

 

Peter, James, and John must have been shocked to hear those words coming from out of a cloud. The sight of Jesus, Moses, and Elijah was breath taking, to the point where Peter suggests they stay there. But there’s something greater than the visual element. God the Father says: Listen to Him. Use your ears, not just your eyes.

 

Jesus, Moses, and Elijah were not just making small talk about the weather. They were talking about Jesus’ departure—specifically His departure from Jerusalem.

 

We heard about Moses’ departure in the Old Testament reading. How he lead the people of Israel out of Egypt to the Promised Land, but Moses could not go in because of his disobedience. It was upon death that Moses entered heaven.

 

Elijah did not die like Moses, but was taken up to heaven in a whirlwind. No grave or headstone needed. Both Moses and Elijah knew about departures.

 

But Jesus, Moses and Elijah, were talking about what Jesus would accomplish on the cross. And even though Jesus would be dead and buried, after 3 days His grave would be empty. And then 40 days later, like Elijah, Jesus would bodily ascend into heaven. Jesus the Chosen One, was victorious over death, defeated sin, rose from the dead. And only the glorious Son of God could accomplish that.

 

That’s what Peter, James, & John needed to hear, because very soon they’d be back on another hill with Jesus and two others - not prophets, but criminals. Jesus’ appearance on Golgotha would be altered again – but hideously; torn open from flogging and a crown of thorns, His hands and feet pierced with nails, and His holy, precious blood poured out onto a sin-cursed earth. That’s what Peter, James, & John would see. A place where they didn’t want to stay and the glory of the transfiguration was quickly forgotten.

 

But if Peter, James, & John had listened they’d have known - the glory of God’s love would not allow us to perish in sin. But all they could see at Golgotha was hatred, blood, death, and hopelessness. It was the transfiguration turned inside out.

 

But anyone listening to Jesus hanging on the cross would hear Him say: Father, forgive them. . .Today, you will be with me in paradise… glorious words… transfiguring words.

 

So In glory, Jesus speaks of death, and in death, He speaks of glory. Listen to Him!

 

So when you see the glory of this world, you will know death is not far behind, because the glory of this world will not last.

 

But when you see death, you should also know that in Jesus, glory is not far away, because your death is not the end.

Listen to Him. In the highs and the lows of daily life, in the good times and the bad times, in glory or in shame, when the wind is at your back or in your face . . . to Him.

Listen to His promises to avoid the roller coaster of emotions and troubles of life. Listen to His Word, which assures us that that in Him there is forgiveness, in Him there is comfort for those who mourn, strength for the weak, love for the unloved. Only Jesus will provide what you need.

But lest I mislead you, Christianity doesn’t mean a life free from struggle - the devil will not give up that easily. And we’d all have to admit, we’re pretty good at getting ourselves into trouble, flirting with temptations and getting burned. So life will not be free from trouble, but our LORD and Savior didn’t bask in the glory on the Mt of Transfiguration, but came down to be with us in the trials of life.

 

So was Peter foolish for wanting to stay there, on the mountain, with Jesus, and the boys in glory? I can’t blame Peter, but he didn’t realize Jesus would be with him every step of the way. Jesus came to stay with us from the moment we are baptized until eternity.

If you listen, Jesus is here, because His Word is here. We may not experience the glory of the transfiguration or the gore of the cross, but it’s the same Word, the same Jesus. Listen to hear His words of forgiveness. Listen to hear His promises, and receive His blessing.

You hear, you know, you believe . . . so why are we not more like Peter eager to be here? Why are we so easily distracted and stay away? Why do we allow the evil one to lull us into thinking the things of this world are more important?

 

Listen to Him as He forgives you, as He feeds you, as He blesses you. Listen to Him for words that create in us a new and right spirit.

 

And then the time will come when you will see Jesus in all His glory with all the saints of heaven. You’ll see Jesus with the scars of the cross, and the angels on the Last Day. And you’ll hear the endless alleluias of heaven.

 

But until then, listen to Him in the highs and the lows of life…

 

Listen to hear His promise that he’ll never let you go. Listen to Him when he says your death is not the end. Listen to Him for you will never hear words of life from anyone else.

 

Listen to Him for when the day of your departure comes from this life . . . you will hear, welcome home.