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The Transfiguration of Our Lord "C"

February 18, 2007

The Transfiguration of Our Lord    Trinity Lutheran Church
18 February 2007                             Murdock, NE

+ Jesu Juva +

St. Luke 9:28-36

This isn’t an extreme makeover edition of the New Testament.  Before our very eyes is Jesus.  AND HIS DIVINITY IS SHOWING! 

There’s more to Jesus than meets the eye on the mountain.  He changes. Metamorphasizes.  Transfigures.  What glory.  And when there’s the glory cloud going on in the Bible you know Who’s there:  God Himself.  With Jesus there’s more than you bargained for.  As we look upon this man on the mountain with Peter, James, and John, His divinity leaks out.  His divine nature is showing.  Yes, indeed, the man Jesus is God in the flesh.  The one true God.  All the fullness of the godhead dwells fully in the body of Jesus.  If you want to know where God is, there’s Jesus.  And the clue to all this is the glory cloud, the electrifying face, the white like lightning clothes.  The Transfiguration.    The day Jesus show us His divinity. 

And God Jesus has come to die.  God Jesus comes to save us from our sins.  He will hang dead on the Cross.  That is His “exodus,” His departure.  All the Old Testament pointed to that.

BEHOLD JESUS SHINES WITH THE GLORY OF GOD.  LET THERE BE NO DOUBT.  GOD DWELLS ON THE EARTH.  HE REIGNS AS KING.  Where is the kingdom of God?  Behold King Jesus who goes to die.  To do the greater exodus.  To lead us from the bondage of sin, death and the devil into the Promised Land of sins forgiven and a life forever with Him in heaven.

On the mountain Jesus gives us glimpse of heaven come down to earth.  Jesus is glorified.  Moses and Elijah are there.  The most important prophets of the Old Testament.

They talk with Jesus.  About His dying for the world.  The fulfillment of the Old Testament.  Heaven and earth come together on that mountain. Peter, James, and John must have been sitting on the edge of their seats.  Eyes wide open.  Taking notes feverishly.

No.  They fall asleep.  Drowsy disciples.  In the presence of the transfigured Lord, Moses and Elijah who no one’s seen for hundreds of years — having a glimpse of heaven on earth — and they can’t stay awake!

I don’t feel so bad now when people get sleepy in church.  If a transfigured Jesus speaking with Moses and Elijah can’t keep Peter, James, and John awake, there’s not much I can create to keep people, especially the kids, excited in church.

Heaven came down to earth that day on the mountain.  And the disciples fall asleep.  Jesus appears to us with Moses and Elijah, the Law and the Prophets — His Word.  Jesus is in our midst in the power and glory of His death and resurrection.  He who has conquered sin, death, and hell is here.  In our very midst.  He preaches His Word.  He forgives our sin.  He gives us His Body and Blood.  And we, like the three disciples, grow sleepy.  Bored.  In the very presence of God.

The drowsiness is not because we stayed up too late.  It’s not because the pastor’s such a bore (although he is).  The sleepiness is due to our sinful nature.  The drowsiness of the old Adam.  It happens to me every time I try to pray Matins in the morning and read the Bible.  My eyes get heavy.  My eyelids feel like a ton of bricks.

Drowsiness is the sinful nature in us that wants us to avoid Jesus’ death.  Drowsiness is the avoidance of holiness.  And if we’re not asleep, then we are busy.  Busy building something like a kingdom for ourselves.  Like Peter I.  He wants to stay on the mountain.  Three tents.  Let’s keep McChurch this way Jesus!  But if Jesus stays on the mountain — He won’t go ….  That’s right.  He won’t go to Jerusalem.  No Calvary.  Then there’s no salvation for anyone.  No wonder St. Luke reports that his eminence Peter I didn’t know what in the world he was talking about.

Drowsiness or business.  Either way we’re bent on avoiding the Transfiguration of Our Lord.  Avoiding heaven on the earth.  Choosing not to attend the Divine Service.  Moving heaven and earth to recreate, have family time, fattening the wallet and bank account, pulling the covers over their heads, attending the endless games and tournaments, work on the house, or whatever else we can be busy with.  Why is that?  Because god bed, god cash, god coach, god games, god fun, god house, and god retirement demand our total undivided attention.

There is no Sabbath rest with these gods.  They forbid you to take the time hear Christ’s Words and eat His body and blood.  The false gods are very jealous.  They share their time with no one.  And yet we serve them religiously.  No questions asked.  We love them.  We fear them.  We trust them.

That’s our sinful nature.  The old Adam at work.  Drives us to drowsiness or busy building.  Darkened hearts.  Deafened ears.  To Jesus.  But to the false gods of our time — full devotion — complete attention to every detail.  This is the death that is at work in us all the time.

And yet God the Father is gracious.  He is merciful.  He surrounds the disciples with a thick cloud.  They can’t see anything.  He preaches a sermon to them.  The same sermon He preached at His Son’s Baptism.  “This is My Son.  My chosen One.  Listen to Him.”  Hear His words.  His words are Spirit and life.  Hear His words.  He alone has the words of eternal life.

And when the sermon’s over Jesus is alone.  Moses and Elijah are gone.  Good thing.  They can’t save us.  Jesus alone has the words that open heaven to us.  Jesus alone has the forgiveness that takes away your sin.  Jesus alone has the power to raise the dead.

God is so gracious to us.  We don’t see Jesus as Peter, James, and John did on the mountain.  We don’t see Him at all with our eyes.  He comes.  But when He comes He hides.  And He comes graciously.  Not giving us what we deserve because of our idolatry.  He comes hidden in the flesh of Jesus. Crucified.  Dead.  Buried.  Forgiving all our sins.  He comes graciously in the water of Baptism.  The preached Word.  The bread that is His Body.  The wine that is His Blood.  Revealing His glory.  God who forgives.  Who is for us and with us.

The same Jesus that shone on the mountain now shines in our hearts because of the Word He speaks into us.  One day soon we too will shine in the visible radiance of Jesus.  Along with Moses and Elijah, Peter, James, and John.  With the angels, the archangels, and all the company of heaven.  That’s the resurrection of the body on the Last Day.  But until then, Lord willing, we have an Ash Wednesday, a few weeks of Lent, and an Easter to celebrate.

Until He comes on the Last Day we listen to Him in His Word and Sacraments:  the Divine Service — heaven on earth until we enter heaven.

As you listen to Jesus — have a happy Lent.  In the Name of Jesus.

From → Sermons

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