THE TRANSFIGURATION OF OUR LORD
for 23 February 2020
2 Peter 1:16–21
God Manifests His Glory in the Body of Christ Jesus, Transfigured for Us by His Cross
Alleluia, song of gladness, Voice of joy that cannot die
Alleluia, is the anthem Ever raise by choirs on high;
In the house of God abiding That they sing eternally.
Alleluia, thou resound-est, True Jerusalem and free;
Alleluia, joyful mother, All thy children sing with thee,
But by Babylon’s sad waters, Mourning exiles now are we.
Alleluia, cannot always, Be our song while here below;
Alleluia, our transgressions, Make us for a while forgo;
For the solemn time is coming, When our tears for sin must flow.
Therefore in our hymns we pray Thee, Grant us, blessed Trinity,
At the last to keep Thine Easter, With Thy faithful saints on high;
There to Thee forever singing, Alleluia joyfully.
-Alleluia, Son of Gladness Lutheran Service Book #417
O God, in the glorious transfiguration of Your beloved Son You confirmed the mysteries of the faith by the testimony of Moses and Elijah. In the voice that came from the bright cloud, You wonderfully foreshowed our adoption by grace. Mercifully make us co-heirs with the King in His glory and bring us to fullness of our inheritance in heaven.
The transfiguration confirms “the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place” (2 Peter 1:19). The divine glory of Jesus is manifested in the word of His apostles, who were “eyewitnesses of his majesty” (2 Peter 1:16). “He was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun” (Matthew 17:2). Moses and Elijah witnessed the fulfillment of the Old Testament in this Lord Jesus, and the Father testified concerning Him: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 17:5).
By His own blood, shed on the cross, Jesus makes and seals the new covenant with us. Hence, “the appearance of the glory of the Lord” is no longer “like a devouring fire” (Exodus 24:17), but it is graciously revealed in His own body. As “Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel” went up the mountain with Moses and “beheld God, and ate and drank” (Exodus 24:9, 11), we also behold the Lord our God in Christ Jesus, and we abide with Him as we eat and drink His body and blood at the altar.
From Oswald Bayer’s interpretation of Martin Luther’s Theology, pages 228-9:
“The effect that the law creates is not surprising. One has no trouble understanding what it means to rely on oneself and on one’s own deeds; the action-consequences relationship has its own logic. But the gospel is absolutely, completely incomprehensible. That God rescues one from, and brings one safely through, the deserved judgment is a miracle. Law and gospel cannot be plausibly intertwined together; their existence is hard and fast in opposition to each other. The gospel is literally a paradox: it stands against that which the sinner can reasonably expect; it stands against damnation.”
Only the gospel changes hearts.
The Transfiguration - Matthew 17:1-9
Καὶ μεθ’ ἡμέρας ἓξ παραλαμβάνει ὁ Ἰησοῦς τὸν Πέτρον καὶ Ἰάκωβον καὶ Ἰωάννην τὸν ἀδελφὸν αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἀναφέρει αὐτοὺς εἰς ὄρος ὑψηλὸν κατ’ ἰδίαν.
And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves.
Jesus bore carried them up to a high mountain according to themselves.
6 days after what? The confession and prediction of His passion...
Why 6 days? He will rest perfectly in the tomb He dies on the day old Adam was created. A contrast with Luke who spoke of 8 days...Matthew sees this in view of Good Friday....Luke looks to Easter. See Exodus 24 a bookend with the Beatitudes where Jesus incarnates the Law. 5 books of the law and 5 discourses from Jesus. Fulfillment of Deuteronomy 18.
Each of the gospels is prologue to the passion. John will speak of the Transfiguration in chapter 1, "we have seen His glory" Peter will mention it in his epistle. (2 Peter 1:12-18) this is a picture of Jesus' exaltation, a glimpse of the last great day...His 'glory' is demonstrated in the cross...
καὶ μετεμορφώθη ἔμπροσθεν αὐτῶν, καὶ ἔλαμψεν τὸ πρόσωπον αὐτοῦ ὡς ὁ ἥλιος, τὰ δὲ ἱμάτια αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο λευκὰ ὡς τὸ φῶς.
And he was transfigured before them, and his face (lamped) shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light.
These are heavenly clothes. Gold shines like light.
καὶ ἰδοὺ ὤφθη αὐτοῖς Μωϋσῆς καὶ Ἠλίας συλλαλοῦντες μετ’ αὐτοῦ.
And behold, (right then and there before them) there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, (singing heaven's hymn) 'talking' with Him…
This is the "glory of the Lord." Where is Jesus now? Dispatched from heaven to be present with us. He is fully man and God and uses his exaltation to fulfill the Father's promised.
ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ Πέτρος εἶπεν τῷ Ἰησοῦ• Κύριε, καλόν ἐστιν ἡμᾶς ὧδε εἶναι• εἰ θέλεις, ποιήσω ὧδε τρεῖς σκηνάς, σοὶ μίαν καὶ Μωϋσεῖ μίαν καὶ Ἠλίᾳ μίαν.
And Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents (booths, tabernacles) here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah."
~ Luke "not knowing what he was saying." ~ Peter is a Buddhist we need to house the God who needs not be housed. Jesus is just one among many. Glory w/o the cross...
ἔτι αὐτοῦ λαλοῦντος ἰδοὺ νεφέλη φωτεινὴ ἐπεσκίασεν αὐτούς, καὶ ἰδοὺ φωνὴ ἐκ τῆς νεφέλης λέγουσα• Οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ υἱός μου ὁ ἀγαπητός, ἐν ᾧ εὐδόκησα• ἀκούετε αὐτοῦ.
He was still speaking when, behold, (right then and there here before you) a bright cloud "overshadowed" (see Colossians 2; Hebrews 1; only the son is revealed. The Father is the stamp of the coin. Jesus is the coin) them,(right then and there here before you) a voice from the cloud said, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him."
See Exodus 40:34ff; 1 Kings 8,
Jesus is the source of this light, He is the temple, the cloud, the glory. See 2 Corinthians 4,
καὶ ἀκούσαντες οἱ μαθηταὶ ἔπεσαν ἐπὶ πρόσωπον αὐτῶν καὶ ἐφοβήθησαν σφόδρα.
When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were terrified.
They feared greatly...they fall when the Father speaks...same verb as in Luke 2.
καὶ προσῆλθεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς καὶ ἁψάμενος αὐτῶν εἶπεν• Ἐγέρθητε καὶ μὴ φοβεῖσθε.
But Jesus came and touched them, saying, "Rise, and have no fear."
Jesus says this walking on the water, notice the monergism; He came, He touched, He spoke.
ἐπάραντες δὲ τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς αὐτῶν οὐδένα εἶδον εἰ μὴ [h]αὐτὸν Ἰησοῦν μόνον.
And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.
Still prostrate...fear not...now they can look up...yet an attitude of reverence, respect, honor.
The Father desires to be heard and known but only through the Son. Peter wants only to speak. Listen only to the Son.
Καὶ καταβαινόντων αὐτῶν ἐκ τοῦ ὄρους ἐνετείλατο αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς λέγων• Μηδενὶ εἴπητε τὸ ὅραμα ἕως οὗ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐκ νεκρῶν ἐγερθῇ.
And as they were coming down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, "Tell no one the vision, until the Son of Man is raised (out)from the dead."
-The three have just witnessed the resurrection yet they don't get it. This is NOT the be all and end all…only the resurrection.
This is an opportunity to preach the theology of the cross…how is God Known? You see God in no other way but Jesus.
The Greek New Testament: SBL Edition. Copyright © 2010 by Society of Biblical Literature and Logos Bible Software
Schnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts, ‘The Transfiguration of our Lord’ © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use
LCMS Lectionary notes © 2017
Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis