Saturday, March 5, 2011


Almighty God, on the mountain you showed your glory in the Transfiguration of your Son. Give us the vision to see beyond the turmoil of our world and to behold the King in all his glory.”

Before the Cross, Resurrection, and Ascension, we get a glimpse of the inner, true nature of the Son of God. Until this time, we saw God’s glory manifested in Jesus. The Wise Men saw in Him a king. John the Baptist confessed Jesus as the Messiah. In the miracles of Jesus, we witnessed His power. Jesus’ miracles were signs of the presence of the kingdom of God. (Matthew 12:39) …and all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by him. (Luke 13:17)

Now we see directly the divine nature of Jesus. This brings us to the uniqueness of Jesus — “They saw no one but Jesus only.” In the light of Jesus’ being the only Son of the Father, we must confront the pluralism of our day which would suggest that Jesus is merely one among many possibilities. Mohammed, Buddha, Confucius will all make claims of having divine qualities. Jesus alone will prove it.

The Transfiguration is an experience that blows the mind. Many questions go unanswered. How could the holy presence of God come into a human frame? How do you explain the exceeding brightness of the physical Jesus? How could Moses and Elijah appear in bodily form? Does God come in a cloud and does God have a real voice?

Perhaps our only reaction and answer is worship. Like Peter, we do not know what to say. Like the disciples, we are overcome with awe and adoration. Jesus and His three disciples go up to pray and reflect and the experience results in worship of Christ. These three return from the mountain and their lives are forever changed.

The Transfiguration was a preparation for Jesus’ journey to the cross. Before taking a trip [to Hawaii, Europe, the Holy Lands, around the world or even for a weekend getaway], we must make preparations of various kinds. Any traveler knows this. Jesus was planning a trip to Jerusalem to suffer and die there as Messiah. He needed confirmation, assurance, and approval from the Father to take the trip. Ash Wednesday, coming in three days, marks the beginning of our pilgrimage with Jesus to Jerusalem. Transfiguration is the preparation.

Our coming Lenten pilgrimage begins today —

1. It is a going up — Vs. 1 After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. We are going up to be with God.

A. For guidance. What was going through the minds of these three disciples, Peter, James and John? They were going with Jesus. They had Him all to themselves. What conversations would they have? What would He tell them? Would this be a trip to remember?

We too go to Jesus for guidance. We come to Him taking our needs burdens joys and sorrows to the throne room of grace. And we’re thankful as the Savior answers each petition according to His perfect will.

B. For assurance. Most everyone has someone they can turn to for advice. In time of sickness, they can turn to a doctor. In legal matters, they can turn to a lawyer. However, there are some things man doesn’t have the answer for. As you and I face eternity, to whom shall we go?

To Whom Shall We Go With Our Sins? Can we turn to men of great wealth? "None that boast of great wealth can redeem his brother." (Psalms 49:7-8)

Where Can We Go For Inward Peace? The sinner has no peace. There is no peace to be found in the pleasures of this world. True peace is found only in Christ Jesus. "Peace I leave, Peace I give not as the world gives, let not your heart be troubled or afraid." (John 14:27)

This peace became available at a great price. …through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. (Colossians 1:20) Peace was made through the Blood of Jesus Christ. It is so easy to receive. "There is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." (Romans 8:1)

Transition: Our journey is a going up. It is also a going back.

2. It is a going back — Vs. 3 Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. We go back.

A. To Moses and Elijah to get our roots. The church triumphant joins the church militant in worship. We are so familiar with these words. We speak them at every Communion service. Later on in our service, we will hear these words:
Father, all-powerful and ever-living God,
we do well always and everywhere to give You thanks
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

He revealed His glory to the disciples
to strengthen them for the scandal of the cross.
his glory shone from a body like our own,
to show that the Church,
which is the body of Christ,
would one day share His glory.

In our unending joy we echo on earth.
Therefore with angels and archanges and with all the company of heaven we laud and magnify Thy glorious name, evermore prainging Thee and saying

“Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of Sabaoth;
heaven and earth are full of Thy glory;
Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna in the highest
Blessed is He, that cometh in the name of the Lord
Hosanna in the highst

Redeemed sinners on earth join in praising the Lord with those who have been transfered into glory. We unite our voices and encircle the throne and worship the Lamb who is there seated at the right hand of the Father.

B. The cross is grounded in God’s ancient promises of deliverance. God's justice is associated with His acts of salvation and deliverance, and with His deeds of mercy and forgiveness. The Lord works justice and judgment for all the oppressed. He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets prisoners free and the Lord gives signs to the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the righteous. (Psalm 103:6)

Transition: Our journey is a going up. It is a going back. It is also a going down.

3. It is a going down — Vs. 9 As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.” We go down.

A. From the mountain to witness and serve. We worship and we witness. We leave this holy house and go back to our homes, our schools, and to our places of work. We return to the places where we shop and hang out with our friends. It is at those places where you are a voice and a witness. You are the voice for those who have none. You are the voice of those who need defending. You are the voice for whom no one speaks well of. You are also a witness of Him whose passion we will observe in three short days.

B. To carry a cross. We are continually in the process of dying. We die to self only to live for the one who has saved us. As you carry your cross and die to self you discover that "dying" is the process and God's presence is the result!
Ultimately, it is only God who can make us grow. But, the apostle Paul helps us to keep it in perspective when he said, "I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth." (1 Corinthians 3:6). God causes the growth, but we are the ones who need to do the planting and the watering. That growth comes as we begin the discipline of Lent. May the Lord direct your journey in your contemplation, in your devotional life, in your prayers.
We begin this journey not alone we walk with Him who carried the cross. With the Lord Jesus in His suffering, humiliation, agony, and bloody sweat; and at the cross where He took our sins upon Himself. That great exchange – God’s mercy and forgiveness purchased at the cost of His own son! For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. Godspeed and God bless as your journey begins!

Schnorr von Carolsfeld. Woodcuts © WELS Permission to use these copyrighted items is limited to personal and congregational use
Preface for the Transfiguration of our Lord

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