Sermon Text: Mark 9:2-9
Transfiguration of our Lord – February 15, 2015
Grace, mercy and peace be unto you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. AMEN! Our text for this morning’s sermon is taken from St. Mark’s gospel account the 9th chapter.
Beloved in the Lord
Carried by the Word
Where the Word of God is there is Jesus. He is the Word made flesh, the Word dwelling among us, even today, even now. The Word is a powerful Word. He is the Word with authority, authority to bring things into existence and authority to cast things out. He is the Word with authority to rebuke illness and authority to cleanse the unclean. He is the Word that works wonders and gives rest. He is the Word of God for the world, for us, for you.
Where the Word of God is there is Jesus for the world, for us and for you. This morning the Word of God carries us along the path and up the mountain. Where Jesus goes we are called to follow. We go with Peter, James, and John. We travel to the top, we hear what they hear and see what they see. We can do this because the Word is a Spirit filled Word that sets before our eyes and our hearts the things of God, things that have been hidden from the world but are now revealed to us. And though our eyes are weary with sleep,
though our souls are winded with anxiety,
though our knees are weak from the journey
and our hearts approach wounded and frail,
though we would know Him according to the Flesh we are given now to behold Him as our God. For there, on the mountain stands Jesus for us, mighty in strength and gilded in light. “He was transfigured before them,3 and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them.” (Mar 9:2-3 ESV). The Glory of Israel is God incarnate. The son of Mary is the Son of God. David’s son is David’s Lord. Abraham longed to see this day. He did see it and He rejoiced. This is the Christ! The Son of the Living God! Right here in our text! Right now in His Word! In our midst! In this place! For the world, for us, for you and your children!
Building, Doing, Working, Speaking
Peter cannot help himself. He opens his mouth when He should be still and know that Jesus is God. “It is good for us to be here. Let us build three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah. But he didn’t know what he was saying.” Yet, what Peter was saying is exactly what Peter felt, believed, and desired. Peter was saying what we all say every day with our lives. He was saying, “I want to stay here and not go down there. I want to keep things the way they are right now and not have to bother with everyone down below. I want to be comfortable with Jesus in His glory rather than be uncomfortable with my neighbor in his mess of a life.” And Peter was more than willing to make it happen if Jesus allowed. He was willing to do the work. And he wasn’t too worried about the other disciples down at the bottom of the mountain. He wasn’t worried about Matthew, or Thomas, or Judas or Mary Magdalene. Peter wasn’t worried about his neighbor. He was all about building, doing, working and speaking while none of his building, doing, working and speaking served his neighbor, none of his building, doing, working and speaking helped the people down below. That’s not love for God or love for neighbor. That’s love for self.
Too often that’s us. We want to be building, doing, working, and speaking here in church for Jesus but not out there in the world for our neighbor. Christians today have surrendered themselves to Peter’s mountain top theology. But this is backwards. Like Peter, our sinful nature would have us
build when we should be still,
do when we should believe,
work when we should rest,
and speak when we should listen. And all of this is manifested in worship as too many Christians have been deceived into thinking that worship leads to evangelism rather than evangelism leads to worship. It’s bringing everyone up the mountain and gathering them into our tent in order to see Jesus rather than following Jesus down the mountain and entering their messy lives, getting ourselves dirty as we bring the Word of God to the lost. This needs to change. We need to change. We need to repent.
Listen to Him
It’s for this reason, no one on the mountain replies to Peter. He didn’t know what he was saying and so his words were not worthy of a response. Peter’s building, doing, working and speaking were ignored. They were ignored by Jesus, ignored by Moses and Elijah, even Peter’s own buddies turned a deaf ear. And then something happens. The mount of Transfiguration quickly resembled Mount Sinai. The cloud of God overshadowed them. This was no ordinary cumulous cloud. This was Sinai’s cloud, the cloud of God’s presence by day. The cloud the Israelites followed in the wilderness, the cloud Moses entered and spoke with God face to face. This cloud is the cloud of the Father overshadowing Peter, James and John not for judgment but grace, not wrath but mercy. “This is my beloved Son. Listen to Him.” The Father directs us to His Son, not to see Him but to hear Him.
Hearing is not building, working, doing, or speaking. Hearing involves the ears and not the hands, the heart not the eyes. To get to our heart the Word is to be in our ears. A picture may be worth 1000 words, but such things are seen and not heard, without the hearing there is no believing and therefore no understanding. Faith comes by hearing and the Father would have humanity hear the Son rather than see Him.
Hearing interprets what is seen. Whether we see Jesus clothed in eternal glory on this mountain or naked and bleeding out while hanging on a Calvary’s tree we are given to believe what the Word says not what the eye sees.
The eye sees betrayal. The Word says this pleased the Father.
The eye sees innocence. The Word says He suffered for our transgressions.
They eye sees humiliation. The Word says that Jesus humbled Himself even unto death so that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord.
The eye sees suffering. The Word says it is atonement.
The eye sees death. The Word says it is propitiation.
The eyes a sealed tomb. The Word says, the stone was rolled away. He’s not here. He’s risen. What the eyes see is deceitful. The eyes cannot see the love of God in the death of God. They eyes cannot see the mercy of God in the crucifixion of Jesus. They cannot see the victory of God in the empty tomb. They have no understanding because they do not listen to the Divine Word. The Divine Word is the revelation of God, His Works, His Wonders, His Heart, His healing, His Salvation, His Savior, His SON.
Gathering, Sitting, Hearing, Believing
And this Word is for the world, for us, for you and your children. The Word is given to the ear and for the heart. For God will not give you His Holy Spirit apart from the external Word that is heard in the ear and meant for the heart. He works His Wonders and gives His salvation through His Word because His Word does what He says, works what He wills and gives what He promises. Everything is connected to Jesus and His Word and there is no “coming to Jesus” apart from His Word. The Word brings Jesus to you. If you are not hearing the Word but are off building, working, doing, or speaking then you are not receiving Jesus. If you are not gathering, sitting, hearing and believing then you are not receiving Jesus. If you are not receiving Jesus then repent, change, resolve to hear Him.
Today is the day of salvation because today is the day that Jesus reveals Himself to you in His Word. His Word cleanses you. His Word strengthens you. His Word nourishes you with bread and wine, even body and blood. His Word exhorts you to righteous living and His Word comforts you with the resurrection of your body. His Word is food for the soul, the bread of life, manna from Heaven. Whoever eats of this bread shall never hunger. His Word is living water, Spirit filled, poured out for the regeneration of humanity, every man, woman, and child who hears with open ears and receives with faithful hearts. Whoever drinks of this water shall never thirst. Whoever receives this Christ, believes on His name, though He die, yet shall He live in paradise for all eternity.
Carried Along by the Word to our Neighbor
Beloved in the Lord, we who are called by God’s Name are given first the gather, sit, hear and believe the Word of the living God. Having received the Word with our ears we are now given to manifest this Word to our neighbors. The Word goes down the Mountain because where the Word is there is Jesus. Where Jesus is there is the Word. The word carries us down the mountain because Jesus goes down the mountain. And so the Word carries us out there where we are to be building, working, doing and speaking. There is message to be preached. There is love to be done, mercy to be wrought, and the kingdom to be built. There are fallen to be lifted up. There are grieving to be comforted with the comfort we ourselves have been comforted. There are weak knees to be strengthened, hurting hearts to be healed, anxious minds to be stilled with the peace that passes all understanding. There are lost to be found, sinners to be converted, friends, family, and loved ones to have their ears opened that they hear and believe and are saved. Out there we must go because out there the Word carries us. And if the Word carries us along, we rest in the hands of the Word made flesh and have the promise that His Word never returns void.
So let us go beloved because Jesus goes. Let us love because Jesus loves. Let us not grow weary for He is our rest and our respite. Let us continue doing good for this world needs our good works that they may see the light shine in the darkness and glorify our Father in heaven. Beloved, let us press on toward the goal our comfort zone. Truly it is good for us to be here sitting in the glory of Christ and hearing, believing, and receiving His Word. It is also good for them, the unbelieving world, when Jesus goes down the mountain with us, His little Christians, following in His footsteps. AMEN!
The peace of God which surpasses all understanding keep your heart and mind through faith in Christ Jesus. AMEN!