Proper 14 – 9th Sunday After Pentecost – 08-07-2022

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

Our Old Testament lesson teaches us that God used Moses as a constant messenger who traveled between the people and God’s presence in the mountain. Each of the commands that God uttered were passed on to the people, who waited anxiously to hear the word of the Lord. Whenever Moses was in the presence of God, he unveiled himself. Both servant and Master revealed themselves in 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 also needed a mediator to interpret the divine word in the new situations that passing time brought. Prayer brings us into God’s presence and changes our own lives. Moses’ closeness to God brought a radiance the people could visible see, but not bear. Nothing should veil us when we are in God’s presence.

From our Psalm to day, God’s people praise the holy God because He rules all creation. God’s position as King of the universe and His past history hearing and forgiving His people are reasons to lift our praises to Him. God revealed 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.

In 2nd Peter it is Peter’s experience as eyewitness of the transfiguration that gives certainty to Christ’s final coming. People’s physical nature is actually no more permanent than a tent that is packed up as a camp moves on. The body is put aside, but our life continues in Christ through resurrection. Death is the putting off of the body, for the permanent spiritual body not made with hands. Death will be a departure to be with the Lord. The brief time in this life would leave behind memories of what God has done and taught through us.

Since the beginning of the written Gospels the early church had to contend with charges they invented the stories about Jesus. Peter pointed to God’s personal revelation at Christ’s baptism and at the moment of the transfiguration. The promise of Jesus’ return in not a clever invention of human imagination; it is based on the transfiguration as a foreshadowing of Christ in His true majesty as will be seen at His second coming, as Jesus comes in His full glory and majesty as promised through scripture. Beloved, 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 Holy Spirit wanted them to say.

Our reading from the Gospel of Luke concerns the Transfiguration. It was not uncommon for Jesus to take His disciples away from others to teach them, but in today’s reading He takes Peter, John, and James up on a mountain to pray, only this time the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lighting. Two men Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem. Peter, John, and James were sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. As Moses and Elijah wee leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, “Master, It is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelter—-one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While he was speaking a cloud appeared and enveloped them and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. A voice came saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.” Then Jesus was alone. They disciples kept this to themselves, and told no one at that time what they had seen.

The course set for Jesus had been put in motion before He came to this earth, but the encounter with Jesus, Moses, and Elijah, combined with the affirmation from God that Jesus was His Son and was now on his way to Jerusalem, to finalize the plan for salvation, that Jesus was going to purchase for our sins with His very human life.

Our faith in Jesus, our confidence in Jesus lets us do things we could never do otherwise. What Jesus was about to do for us, what Jesus does for us, and our sometimes tiny, mustard seed-sized faith that connects us to Him, means we can hope, serve, and enjoy; Jesus can see a bright future that we cannot, but we can look for, prepare for, and do our part for. Jesus made a future for us that we could not even imagine possible

It’s Jesus’ faith that makes the difference. Our faith in Jesus, our confidence in Jesus lets us do things we couldn’t do otherwise. What Jesus did for us, what Jesus does for us, and our sometimes tiny, mustard seed-sized faith that connects us to him, means we can hope, serve, enjoy. Jesus can see a future we cannot, but we can, with confidence, look for, prepare for, and do our part for. Amen

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