3 March, 2019
The Glory of God Is Manifested in the Body of Christ
Lord Jesus, bless Thy Word, that we may trust in Thee!
Today we make a transition. From the season of Epiphany to the season of Lent. In just three days, we will assemble in this holy house; in the very room, to begin a 40-day spiritual journey called Lent. At the Transfiguration of Jesus – the Glory of God is Manifested in the Body of Christ. A true confession, calls for us to say – above anything else – Jesus is the Lord of life.
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 climax of Epiphany is no doubt the Transfiguration, while the climax of Lent is found at Mt. Calvary. Both involve mountains. What happened on Mt. Calvary was decided on another mountain, Mt. Hermon.
Let's consider these two mountains, these twin towers of Jesus' life and of our lives too.
1. Consider the Place where these events occurred - mountains: Transfiguration and Calvary - are high points of both glory and shame; triumph and disaster. Both were the lot of Jesus. Both occur in your life as well.
A. Consider the Transfiguration - There Jesus went up with His three friends. He went there to be vindicated. There, on that mountain, before their very eyes, Jesus was transfigured before them. As His clothing and clothing began to glow before them. As they heard the voice of the Father. As they witnessed Moses and Elijah. Those disciples were privileged to receive a message -that this Jesus - is truly the chosen one of the Father.
No. We do not receive audible sounds from God. Yet He still speaks. He communicates to us through His Word. There you find clear direction. There He will guide you along your journey. “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and light unto my path.”
B. Then there is Calvary -There Jesus went up alone. He was a man familiar and acquainted with grief. Despised and rejected by all sorts of the people. Not all could see that Jesus was this chosen Son of the Father. They could not accept His message and so He was rejected and forsaken by men.
THE POINT FOR US, living in the year of our Lord 2019 - We worship a living Christ - the embodiment of the one and eternal God. And yet He is despised by a majority of the world. We are to uphold the living Christ; who, although men rejected Him, He bore your sins in His body, that, being dead to sin, might live unto Him in righteousness and purity.
2. Consider the Reaction of both events - men did not understand both experiences
A. At the Transfiguration, the disciples did not understand what was taking place. - "[They were…] not knowing what he said" v.33 It was only after the death and resurrection that the disciples come to realize that this Transfigured Jesus could only be the Lord and Savior of the world.
B. At Calvary, there was much confusion. Jesus prayed - "Father forgive them for they know not what they do" Luke 23:34 The crowd, the mob, the leaders, the soldiers failed to realize that they were crucifying the Lord of glory.
THE POINT FOR US: We live in a world in which many folk fail to understand the meaning of the cross of Christ. The cross of Christ is more than just simple jewelry. The cross is more than a good luck charm. It is the place where the Son of Man was suspended between earth and heaven. St. Paul tells us "I determine to know nothing among you except for Jesus Christ and Him crucified." The old song sins, “In the cross of Christ I glory.” As we review what the Lord has done in our midst may Jesus Christ be praised; may we lift up the cross of Christ as a banner for all to see.
3. Consider the Reason why Jesus went up to the mountain - why go up to the mountains?
A. At the Transfiguration - Jesus went up on the mountain to receive the Father’s approval to die. As Moses and Elijah appeared, they spoke about the cross. They spoke about the fact that Jesus was about to suffer. They spoke concerning His death. And His offering of Himself in exchange for the sins of the world.
B. At Calvary, the prophecy was fulfilled. - Jesus went to the cross to die in obedience to the Father’s good and perfect will. Jesus prayed, "Father, if it is Your will remove this cup from Me. Never the less, not My will, but your will be done!" Jesus obediently followed the will of the Father.
THE POINT FOR US: Jesus followed the will of the Father every single moment. Jesus came into this world "to fulfill all righteousness". We point people to Christ, who has fulfilled all of the Father’s requirements. He has done all things well. We proclaim a Changing Christ to a changing world. This has been our mission for the past 181 years. By God's good and gracious will may we continue to lift high His banner proclaiming and pointing people to Christ; our strength and our redeemer.
Words – 955
Passive Sentences –16%
Readability – 75.4%
Reading Level -5.8%
Schnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts, ‘The Transfiguration of our Lord’ © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use
Collect for Transfiguration Sunday, Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis