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What A Jesus!

February 10, 2013

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The Transfiguration of Our Lord                      Trinity Lutheran Church

10 February 2013                                        Murdock, NE


+ Jesu Juva +


St. Luke 9:28-36


Is it the altitude?  Or is it the thin air?  Maybe you’re asleep because Jesus has praying for what seems like an eternity!    Whatever the reason — shake off the deep and heavy sleep!  I know that when you’re with Jesus it’s usually time for a power nap.  But now it’s time to wake up sleepy heads!  Knock off the dozing, snoring and snorting!  Get the sleep out of your eyes!  Something unusual is happening! 


Look!  Do you see Him?  Look at His face!  It has changed!  Check out His clothes!  They shine like the sun!  As dazzling bright as lightning flashing across the sky!  Is this the result of His taking performance enhancing drugs?  Pulling a Lance Armstrong?  A heavy dose of deer antler spray?  No!  This is a big time – real deal — epiphany!  A gargantuanly guaranteed revelation!  His heavenly glory and full-blown divinity are leaking out all over the place from His face and clothes!


Who is this Jesus?  He’s none than God’s Son in the flesh!  God’s divine Son who came down from heaven and who is now on the earth!  Jesus, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, dwells with sinners held captive to their sin, death, and the devil!   


Check it out!  He’s having quite the conversation!  With two of the biggest Old Testament prophets:  Moses and Elijah!  They too appear “in [the] glorious splendor,” of heaven!  Heaven and earth are one on the mountain!  They’re deep into a discussion with Jesus!  Very serious!  Thrashing and hammering something out!  The banter is quite lively! 


What about?  What’s the big deal?  Why all the hullabaloo?  “They spoke about Jesus’ DEPARTURE which He was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem.”       


“Departure.”  Literally in the Greek:  “Exodus.”  We’ve heard that word before!  That’s what they’re chatting about!  Shooting the breeze about His “exodus … at Jerusalem”!   


Can you guess what that is?  Yes, that’s right, the “exodus … at Jerusalem” will be His suffering and death on the cross!  Good Friday! 


Imagine that!  Jesus – God in the flesh – discussing the intimate details of His death with Moses and Elijah! 


Peter, James, John and, dare I say the rest of you, wake up just in time to see Jesus’ divinity pouring out from His face and clothes, to witness the heavenly glory of the two mega prophets, and to catch the tail end of their departure-exodus … at Jerusalem chitchat!  Before Moses and Elijah can each bid their adieu, Peter pipes up!  Has some expert advice!  After all, he’s one of the leaders of the Twelve! 


“Jesus, Master, you’re finally on to something!  No, I don’t mean all that blabbing and blubbering about an exodus in Jerusalem!  That has to be scrapped!  PDQ!  That will never grow a church let alone transform the world!  Can’t be having any of that!  I forbid it!” 


“But I can work with this dazzling divinity dripping out of your pores! Why in the world have you been keeping this a secret?  We must keep this going! 24-7-365!  This is the kind of Jesus people want!  What they crave!  A transfigured Jesus!  A Jesus in which heaven’s glory radiates from His Body!  From His Face!  Even from His clothes!  You’ll be a bigger than the … Beatles!  Take that John Lennon!”


“I guarantee Ray Lewis, the Baltimore Ravens, Roger Goodell, and the entire world will sit up and take notice if you’ll show them this stunning show of clout!  Give me a second.  I’ll put up a tent for each of you!  Tell Moses and Elijah to hold on!  Don’t let them leave!  We must keep them here too! In all their magnificent, heavenly splendor!  We’re staying right here Jesus!  We not going anywhere!  Cancel the departure – exodus – Jerusalem gig!  I, Peter the First, have spoken!”


You’re all in with Peter, aren’t you?  Shaking your heads “Yes!”  Giving Peter high fives, fist bumps and attaboys!  Some of you are even tweeting about how brilliant this man-of-God Peter is and you’re making reservations to have a future audience with him so that you can kiss his ring at Rome! Who in the world could disagree with Peter here?  James and John—don’t!  Silence is their kudos!  They wouldn’t dare to oppose Peter’s plan to keep the Transfigured Jesus on the mountain! 


Well, folks, I hate to break it to you, but St. Luke the Evangelist tells us that his eminence, Peter the First, “didn’t know what in the world he was talking about”!  Didn’t have a clue!  Meant well and all.  Loved Jesus.  Really he did!  But at the moment, he’s a few theological bricks short of a biblical load!  


So it’s time for another to speak.  And who better than the First Person of the Holy Trinity, the Father!  From the cloud we hear His voice:  “This Jesus, He’s my Boy!  My Son!  I’ve chosen Him to do the departure-exodus at Jerusalem!  If you’re going to listen to anybody, you’d better listen to Him!  In fact, I insist on it!”   


Listen to Jesus!  Yes, that’s right!  Just listen!  He’s the prophet par exellence!  The Fulfiller of the Law of Moses and the prophets like Elijah!  Time to be all ears!  He knows what He’s talking about!  He’s going to Jerusalem.  It’s a must!  A divine must!  Can’t stop Him!  He won’t stay on the mountain.  There will be another epiphany!  Another great revelation!  An exodus!  Rescuing you from the bitter slavery of sin!  Overthrowing the Pharaoh of Egyptian hell!  Leading you to the Promised Land of salvation!  The rest of eternal life!   


Quite an exodus!  But how?  He suffers!  Betrayed.  Denied.  Abandoned.  Falsely accused.  Injustice!  And then murdered — hung on the cross! 


In that divine yet dead Body He does His exodus!  For you!


Did you hear what He said there?  He said:  “It is finished!”  The salvation job done!  The exodus complete!  His dying – FOR YOU!  His dying is His triumph over sin – FOR YOU!  What is your sin?  Name it. Your sin belongs to Jesus!   He was bullish on taking all your sin and bearing it in His body on the cross!  Jesus died for it!  And so it is forgiven!


His dying is His victory over death – FOR YOU!  Death does not have the last word!  Jesus does!  He conquered this enemy – FOR YOU – in His resurrection.  He is the Firstfruits of them that … sleep!  And so on the Last Day you will be raised imperishable!  Then death and the grave will be seen for what they really are: impotent bullies!  On that Day Jesus will speak!  He will raise His voice and call us from our graves and give us resurrected bodies for eternal life with Him!      


“Listen to Him.”   Yes, that’s the ticket!  Listen to the God-man Jesus who died and rose FOR YOU!  He promises that you who believe in Him and are baptized will be saved (Mark 16:16)!  He promises that His sacrificial death is for your forgiveness!  Proof of that is His Body and Blood in the Sacrament today hooked with His specific promise:  “given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins!”


Are you awake?  Are you listening?  Of course you are!  Unlike Peter on the mountain, Jesus knows exactly what He’s talking about!


He shows off His divinity on the mountain so that you’re absolutely confident who died for you!  Jesus is true man.  But it wasn’t only His humanity that died on that Good Friday!  A man can’t give you eternal salvation!  But God can!  And God does!  The GOD-MAN Jesus.  God-man Jesus died for you!  Offered His divinity together with His humanity into death for your salvation!  That’s the enormity of His giving for you, the sinner, to be saved!   


That’s certain!  That’s sure!


Happy Transfiguration Day!  Happy listening to Jesus!    


In the Name of Jesus.        

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