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The Transfiguration of Our Lord

March 3, 2019 Speaker: Murray Keith Series: Epiphany

Passage: Luke 9:28–9:36

†††In the Name of Jesus†††
Pastor Murray Keith
Text: Luke 9:28-36
Date: March 3, 2019; Transfiguration; Series C
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
  • Our Gospel lesson for this morning begins, “Now about eight days after these sayings [Jesus] took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray.” 
  • What were these sayings from eight days before the Transfiguration?  
  • Well, Jesus asked his disciples, "Who do the crowds say that I am?" 
  • They answered, "John the Baptist. But others say, Elijah, and others, that one of the prophets of old has risen." 
  • Then Jesus asked, "But who do you say that I am?" 
  • And Peter answered, "The Christ of God."  
  • Peter was right.  But, he didn’t fully understand what it meant.
  • Soon after Peter’s confession, we are told, “Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things…and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”  
  • Showing that he didn’t understand, “Peter took [Jesus] aside and began to rebuke him, saying, "Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you." 
  • “But [Jesus] turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.’”  
  • This provides some context for our Gospel lesson for this morning.  
  • Jesus was teaching his disciples that he was soon to suffer and be put to death – and this left the disciples completely baffled. 
  • The disciples knew that Jesus is the Christ – they had witnessed him do many miracles and teach many things that showed them that this is true.
  • But, at this point, they still believed that he would be a great and powerful political liberator who would defeat their enemies and restore them to great glory – like the days of David and Solomon.
  • They couldn’t grasp the teaching of the Christ who suffers, dies, and rises from the dead. 
  • So, Jesus led a very confused and bewildered Peter, James, and John up on the mountain to pray.  
  • While Jesus was praying, we are told that the disciples fell into a deep sleep.  
  • When they awoke, they saw Jesus’ glory - he was shining as bright as the sun and he was having a conversation with Moses and Elijah.  
  • Just imagine waking up to that!
  • Not only was it a miracle that Jesus was shining bright like the sun, but he was also having a discussion with two men who had been dead for centuries!  
  • We are told that the topic of discussion was Jesus’ departure - that is his upcoming suffering and death.  
  • Likely in a state of shock, Peter said to Jesus, "Master, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah." 
  • We don't know exactly what Peter was thinking, but Luke tells us that Peter didn't know what he was saying. 
  • God the Father interrupted Peter, saying, "This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!”
  • Then the cloud lifted, and they saw no one except Jesus only. 
  • Moses and Elijah were gone. They cannot save you. The commandments and the prophecies cannot save you. 
  • They can only point you to Jesus. Only Jesus can bear your sin. Only Jesus can conquer your death. Only Jesus can justify you before the Father. 
  • Listen to him and to him alone. He alone has the words of eternal life. He alone has a baptism that saves you. He alone has a body and blood that bring you forgiveness, life, and salvation. 
  • He alone can raise you from the dead on the last day. 
  • Moses and Elijah needed Christ to live. They trusted in Christ. They bore witness to Christ. And together with the Father’s voice they are saying to you, “This is the beloved Son of God, listen to him!”
  • Peter, the disciples, and many others were not looking for a saviour who would suffer and die.  
  • The Jesus who did a bunch of miracles, whose glory shone on the mountaintop fit into their plans - but the Jesus who said he is on his way to Jerusalem to be put to death did not.
  • It’s part of our fallen nature to want a saviour who is dazzling - one who will make life easy and prosperous for us and grant all of our wishes.  
  • But thankfully God has not sent us the saviour we want - but has sent us the Saviour we need. 
  • Dear friends, God has sent us the Saviour we need - the One who saves us from sin and eternal death.
  • He is the Christ who would go on to another mountain to suffer and die in our place.
  • The next mountain would be Calvary, and it would be anything but glorious. 
  • Instead of dazzling light, there would be deep darkness. 
  • Instead of life, there would be death. 
  • Instead of glory, there would be defeat. 
  • Jesus suffered and died so that he could take upon himself all of the punishment our sin deserves, so that he could stand in our place to satisfy the justice of God. 
  • This is the Saviour we need. 
  • In Jesus’ Transfiguration we get a sneak peak, a glimpse of what is yet to come and what now is by faith. 
  • This same Jesus who shined in glory is the One who died in darkness and who rose in power, who comes to you in the Word, in water, in bread and wine. 
  • This is God’s beloved, chosen Son sent to save you. Listen to him. Believe him.  Amen.
The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus unto life everlasting. Amen.

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