Remember This Sight . . .

Transfiguration

Remember This Sight . . .

Text:  Mark 9:2-9

There are certain Bible stories that are simply tantalizing to the imagination.  Especially stories with Jesus in them, many impress us and leave us in awe.  Feeding the 5,000.  How did that work?  Walking on water.  What was that like?  Healing the blind and the crippled.  Definitely miraculous!  But then there are certain stories that are completely captivating.  I think Jesus’ transfiguration is one of those stories.

Obviously Peter, James, and John had seen their share of miracles over three years.  But even after all that, this brief scene on the mountaintop left them in speechless awe.

Don’t you wonder what that was like?  Jesus leads you up the mountainside.  Okay, you might not know what he’s doing, but you figure Jesus has something up his sleeve again.  You start to doze off a bit (which was normal for these three) when suddenly you wake up to see a flash of light brighter than the sun.  It’s Jesus!  And he’s beaming bright with clothes whiter than any bleach in the world could make them.  Seeing this glory makes you realize why Moses had to veil his face to hide its brightness when he came down from Mt. Sinai where he was in the presence of the glory of the Lord.

Speaking of Moses—there he is!  Standing next to Jesus!  And there’s Elijah too!  Two of the greatest heroes of faith, standing right before you and talking with Jesus!  

What was that like?  What would you do?  What would you say?  Maybe you would have nothing better to say than what Peter did:  “‘Rabbi, it is good for us to be here.  Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.’  (He did not know what to say, they were so frightened).”

But you hardly even finish that foolish thought of staying on the mountain when suddenly a cloud envelopes you and the Father thunders from the cloud what he once said at his Son’s baptism:  This is my Son, whom I love.  Listen to him!”  Now you’re really quaking in your crocs.  Yet before you can hardly blink, you look around, and suddenly it’s all gone.  Moses and Elijah are gone.  The cloud is gone.  The glory is gone.  Just you and Jesus again.

Jesus tells you not to tell anyone yet about this, but you probably can’t say anything anyways.  You stare at the other disciples with a look that says, “Pinch me.  Was that real?”  Every step down the mountain is a shaky step still filled with trembling awe.  “I will never forget this sight,” you think.

Soon though, those disciples were traveling with Jesus yet again.  More mobs of people.  More needy people.  More preaching.  More teaching.  Not long after that, everything changed drastically.  Jesus told his disciples that soon he must suffer and die.  He entered Jerusalem to a great crowd shouting and praising on Palm Sunday, but it was clear that many didn’t like him very much.

Then they were in the Upper Room on that Thursday and Jesus told them that one of them was going to betray him.  Then they were in the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus told Peter, James, and John, three times to watch and pray but three times they fell asleep.  Then they all ran away when Jesus was arrested.

They hid at distance as Jesus was on trial.  Peter even completely denied knowing the very same Jesus that he wanted to stay on that mountaintop with.  Jesus was beaten and battered like a piece of meat.  He was led away.  He was crucified.  He died.  So there sat the disciples that weekend, locked in a room.  They were devastated that Jesus had died.  They were terrified that they might die too.  This glorious transfiguration was the furthest thing from their minds, other than perhaps thinking, “Where is that glory now?  Why can’t we see that again?  Why did he die?”

They obviously were missing the point.  Jesus didn’t come to flash glory and give them some glorious kingdom here in this world.  His glory was hidden for a reason.  The Mount of Transfiguration was not his end game.  Mount Calvary was.  That’s why Peter was foolish to think they should stay up on the mountain.  That’s why Jesus told them not to tell anyone about it until he had risen.  Jesus didn’t come for that mountain or that glory.  Jesus came to die on Mount Calvary and to show his glory in rising from the dead.

This transfiguration was just a little taste for Peter, James, and John.  It was just a little reminder of who he was.  It was just a little reminder that it was God who had come to save his people.  It was just a little reminder that more glory was yet to come.  And as the transfiguration came and went so quickly it was just a little reminder that glory that lasts forever is not here on earth but in heaven.

Transfiguration is such a neat day for the Church.  The trumpet is blasting.  Jesus’ glory is shining.  And we join Peter, James, and John in dumbfounded awe and wonder.  “I will never forget this sight,” you think today.

But maybe we join the disciples in more ways than that.  In about 30 minutes we are going to walk down this mountain with Peter, James, and John, and out those doors, and the glory will be hidden once again.  We’ll be back at work for another long and crazy week.  The news will tell us about all the terrible things still going on in the world.  All around us we’ll see the corruption of a sinful world.

Soon, we’ll start to wonder.  Why couldn’t we stay on that mountain?  Why can’t Jesus show us his glory?  Why can’t he fix everything and make this world wonderful and worthwhile?  What happened to all the glory?

Two thousand years later and Jesus’ disciples are still missing the point.  Jesus didn’t come to flash his glory and give us some glorious kingdom here in this world.  Jesus’ glory is hidden here for a reason.  The Mount of Transfiguration was not his end game.

So also for us today Jesus’ transfiguration is just a little taste.  It’s just a little reminder of who Jesus is, that it was God who had to come here to save his people.  This transfiguration is just a little reminder that there is more glory yet to come.

Like the disciples then, we must follow Jesus down the mountain.  We must follow him during this journey we call Lent.  We must follow him to the other mountain, Mount Calvary.

And all the while, we will Remember This SightWhen we see Jesus beaten and battered, when we see Jesus suffering and dying, we’ll remember the glory that he does have but that he is hiding.  When we see Jesus give up his spirit and die, we’ll remember that it’s God who is taking our place.  When we leave this church on Good Friday with somber silence and sadness over all our sin, we’ll remember that Jesus willingly set aside his power and glory so that he could pay for those very sins.

Then, in 49 days, we’ll catch another glimpse of glory.  The white will be out and everywhere once again.  The alleluias will be ringing.  The trumpet will be blasting.  And we’ll be in awe and wonder once again when we see Jesus’ glory at his resurrection.

On Easter morning, like the disciples, when we see Jesus alive we will Remember This Sight.  We’ll remember the little glimpse of glory today and we’ll remember what it’s all about.  We’ll remember that God came to purposefully hide his glory.  God came to save us from our sin.  God came to win us eternal glory, glory which will not fade or ever go away in heaven.

That’s the glory that we are finally looking forward to.  Go on and catch a good glimpse today.  See Jesus shining in all his glory.  But know that the best is yet to come.  One day Moses and Elijah won’t come here for a few minutes, but you’ll go to be with Moses and Elijah forever.  One day Jesus’ glory won’t disappear, but will be shining forever and ever.  One day you won’t be wondering if you’ll ever get a chance to see glory his glory again because all you will ever see is his glory.

Maybe you can think of right now that one amazing place you had always wanted to go to and you finally got to see.  Times Square in Manhattan.  The Rocky Mountains.  The Grand Canyon.  A waterfall in Hawaii.  I’m sure all of us have those few spectacular sights that are etched into our memory banks.  You can’t forget them.  You think about them often.  You tell stories about them.  You wish you were back at those places and you wish you could see more.

That’s what Jesus’ transfiguration is for us.  This magnificent sight is something that we can think of often.  It’s something we can’t forget.  It’s something that we want to tell others about.  It’s something we wish we could see more of.

So we live each day like we are going to see more, because we will.  We don’t need to worry about this world here, because we have a better one there.  We don’t need to worry about fame and glory here, because we’ll have real glory there.

Catch a glimpse today.  Remember This Sight.  Take it with you and remember it because soon you will see Moses and Elijah again.  Soon you will join Peter, James, and John, and you will put up shelters to stay permanently.  Soon you’ll say, “Lord, it’s good to be here,” and the Father will reply, “I’m glad to have you here because you are my child whom I love and with whom I am pleased.”  Soon the glory will not fade, there will be no fear, and you’ll bask in Jesus’ glory forever.

It’s all yours—soon.  The full glory of Jesus in heaven.  So Remember This Sight.

AMEN

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About Pastor Phil Huebner

Pastor. Missionary. Principal. Husband. Father. Serving in love as each. http://www.ctkpalmcoast.com

Posted on February 15, 2015, in Church, Sermons and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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