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The Transfiguration of Our Lord

February 14, 2021 Speaker: Murray Keith Series: Epiphany

Passage: Mark 9:2–9:9

†††In the Name of Jesus†††
Pastor Murray Keith
Text: Mark 9:2-9
Date: February 14th, 2021; Transfiguration Sunday; Series B
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
  • Today is the last Sunday in the season of Epiphany.  
  • Epiphany is a season of revealing.
  • The word epiphany means a revealing of something that lay hidden, unseen by the world.
  • So, the season of Epiphany is about God revealing himself in our Lord Christ Jesus. 
  • The season began with the star leading the magi so that they could see and worship the child Messiah.  
  • In the following Sundays, we heard of the epiphany to the people at the Jordan River as Jesus was Baptized.  The Holy Spirit descended on him as a dove and the Father in heaven proclaimed him to be his Son with whom he is well pleased.  
  • We heard the revealing of Jesus as he clearly taught the people at a synagogue that he is the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies – he told them plainly that he is the Messiah they were expecting.  
  • We heard of the epiphany of Jesus as he demonstrated the power and authority of his Word that rebukes demons and miraculously brings the sick back to life. 
  • These accounts, these epiphanies, are not meant to simply cause us to think, “Wow, that Jesus is sure magical and powerful!” 
  • No, St. John tells us the true purpose of these accounts when he said, “…these things are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31).
  • Finally, today, we hear of the epiphany of Jesus’ Transfiguration.  
  • When he took a few of his disciples up a high mountain and shone brightly with God’s glory. 
  • Just imagine that you are with Peter, John, and James as they accompany Jesus up that mountain to pray.  
  • And while praying you look over and see Jesus - and he is as bright as a flash of lightening from the sky!  
  • He is so bright that your eyes can hardly bear looking at him.  
  • And not only are you seeing Jesus shining brilliantly like this, you also see him talking to Moses and Elijah!  
  • These heroes of the faith were called by God to play such an important role in bringing about his plan for the world’s salvation. 
  • They died centuries ago - but there they are talking with Jesus!
  • Then, standing in a daze after seeing these incredible things - a cloud falls on you like a blanket - and you can’t see a thing.  
  • You hear a loud voice boom from heaven, it says, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him” (Mark 9:7). 
  • As the cloud lifts you see Jesus standing alone, looking like himself again. 
  • If water being turned into wine, miraculous healings, evil spirits being cast out, boat loads of fish - if all of these epiphanies didn’t convince you that Jesus is God in the flesh – then certainly the Transfiguration should.  
  • When God says, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him” he is reaffirming what he proclaimed at Jesus’ baptism - that he is the Saviour of the world. 
  • Now, imagine as you are standing on top of this mountain where the Transfiguration took place - you see another mountain in the distance.  
  • Upon this mountain you see 3 crosses.  This is mount Calvary.  
  • It is upon this mountain that our Lord was crucified, nailed to a cross, for our sins.  
  • Between the mountain on which we stand and mount Calvary -  is a valley.  
  • A long expanse of land, of plain, way down below separating the two mountain peaks. 
  • Today, standing on the mountain of the Transfiguration, we get to see that Jesus is truly the Son of God, fully human and fully divine.  
  • He is the long-awaited Saviour promised by God!  
  • On this mountain it is made abundantly clear that Jesus is no ordinary man.  He is not simply a great teacher or prophet.
  • He is the Chosen One, full of glory!
  • Thank God for this epiphany - for this glimpse of Jesus’ divinity.  
  • Because from here - it is nothing but downhill.  
  • In the season of Lent we join our Lord as he makes his way down this mountain into the valley of death.  
  • We accompany him as he puts away his glory and takes on humility. 
  • As our Lord makes his way down into the valley during the season of Lent he continues to perform miracles and teach about the kingdom of God.  
  • But, he is rejected by many people.
  • His enemies are filled with rage when they hear Jesus claim that he is the Son of God.  
  • There are many who want to kill him for what he is doing and teaching.  
  • And as we make the journey with our Lord into the valley of Lent - we remember that it is our sin that caused him to suffer.
  • We remember that sin is the cause of all of the valleys in our lives.  
  • The dark shadows of the valley creep in on us as we deal with this pandemic and all of the other troubles that we experience living in a sinful and fallen world. 
  • The shadows creep in on us as we wrestle with our own sin and guilt and shame. 
  • As we experience loss and grief.
  • When someone we love dies, as we face our own death, it can be overwhelming and it can seem like there is no way out of the valley.
  • But there is a way out.
  • Jesus is the Way - and he leads us through all of life’s valleys, even through the valley of the shadow of death.
  • As we stand in that valley, we look back and see the top of the mountain of Transfiguration where Jesus shone and was revealed in glory to be the Son of God! 
  • We look back and see that he truly is the Promised One who has come to put an end to all pain and suffering and death.
  • And as we look forward, to the top of mount Calvary, we see the instrument through which he would accomplish all of this for us.  
  • The instrument was a wooden cross that was used by the Romans to punish criminals.    
  • On the cross we see Jesus’ ultimate act of humility and sacrifice as he is punished for our sin. 
  • But we look beyond Jesus on that cross on Mount Calvary. That’s not how it ends.
  • We look forward to Easter Sunday, to the empty tomb, when Jesus was resurrected from his grave - showing that there is a way out of the valley of sin and death.
  • St. Paul, in his first letter to the Corinthians wrote, “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:20-22).
  • How important are the words from our heavenly Father that we heard on top of the mountain of the Transfiguration, “This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!”
  • How important they are in the valley of Lent and in the valleys of our lives.
  • Listen to him; cling to the promises he made personally yours in Holy Baptism. They are yours no matter how deep or dark the valleys in your life become. 
  • Listen to him when he says, “This is my body and this is my blood for the forgiveness of your sins.”  
  • With his true body and blood, the same Lord who was transfigured in glory, who was crucified for your sin, and who was raised for eternal life - is with you today.  
  • Listen to him, by his Word he sustains your faith in all that he has accomplished for you.  By his Word he brings you out of the valley of death to eternal life.  Thanks be to God!  Amen.

More in Epiphany

February 7, 2021

Fifth Sunday after Epiphany

January 31, 2021

Fourth Sunday after Epiphany

January 24, 2021

The Third Sunday after the Epiphany