Sermon for Sunday, August 08, 2021 the Transfiguration

11th week after Pentecost

Psalm 99; Exodus 34:29-35; 2nd Peter 1:13-21; Luke 9:28-36

Welcome to Transfiguration Sunday, a day when we fully recognize and praise God because of His sovereignty. In our lesson from Psalms, we see God’s people praise the holy God because He rules all creation. Note also that the ‘sovereign Lord is also the forgiving God in verse 8, another reason to praise our God. God used Moses as His “go between” between Himself and the people. God showed Himself to Israel as a forgiving God, but He was not soft on sin. His past forgiveness calls forth praise and provides assurance that forgiveness remains a possibility.

The lesson from Exodus taught us about what happened to Moses when he spoke to God. God spoke to Moses, and then Moses would go and tell the people what God had said to him. Whenever he came from speaking to God, Moses’ face would shine with a radiance of being in Almighty God’s presence. So, when he left the Lord’s presence, he put on a veil, to cover his face. The people were anxious to hear each message that God had sent them, but the radiance of his face caused a distraction, so Moses covered his face with the veil, so he could deliver God’s messages to the people. It was in these meeting with God, they both God and Moses revealed themselves fully to each other, as an act of trust and closeness. Revelation changed Moses’ appearance but not his humanity. The recipient of revelation and mediator of God’s word did not become divine. The written divine word was not all the people needed. They needed a mediator to interpret the divine word in the new situations that passing time brought.

Our lesson from 2nd Peter centered prophecy of scripture. There are several things to understand from scripture: People’s physical nature is no more permanent that a tent that is packed up as a camp moves on. The body is put aside, but our life continued in Christ through resurrection; The gospel message rests on eyewitness accounts. The early church had to contend with charges they invented the stories about Jesus and peter pointed to God’s personal revelation at Christ’s baptism and transfiguration; Prophets spoke not from their own wisdom but by Christ’s coming. Prophets spoke not from their own wisdom but from God’s. Their testimony was confirmed and made clear by Christ’s coming. Sacred writings have God as their source and are God breathed inspired by the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Clergy teach and preach, and others are allowed to teach the Word, but all that is taught must be in agreement with the Word, not just a close interpretation but by each word of the Word of God. One of the Spirit’s great works is to reveal God. In Israel the primary way He did that was to give oracles to prophets. Both in their speaking and in their writing, the prophets were guided by the Spirit of God. The Bible is the inspired result of God’s plan and purpose. Prophets spoke in the vernacular of their day, but they spoke what God’s Spirit want them to say.

Finally in our Gospel from Luke, Jesus is transfigured into His fully glory, in front of His three disciples, Peter, James and John. The three disciples are standing away from Jesus, who was talking with Moses and Elijah, when God revealed in dramatic fashion that He was His Son. Christ was seen by the disciples in His heavenly glory, and this confirmed Peter’s confession. Only the resurrection would reveal the true nature of Christ. Until then public proclamation was dangerous.

Peter wanted to build shelters, not understanding, but wanting to do something. Then, a bright cloud enveloped them and a voice from the cloud said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love’ with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!’ Powerful!

The transfiguration was not a surprise. God planned it. Jesus expected it. The resurrection meant Jesus had to die first. Expecting death did not make the experience easier. The agony of Gethsemane was real and coming very soon, the disciples were confused, for the Suffering Servant was not what had been expected.

This lesson for today is simply be expectant, for God can and offer does use people in a way we don’t expect. What would you do, if Jesus knocked on your door? How would you clarify seeing a cloud envelope you, and hear a voice saying, ‘This is my Son, listen to Him?’

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