The Transfiguration of Our Lord (C)
“He Took With Him”
March 3, 2019
Sermon Text: Luke 9:28-36, Hebrews 3:1
Grace, mercy and peace be unto you from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Dearly Beloved of the Lord,
This most holy day in the Church Year… The Transfiguration of Our Lord… we turn our attention particularly to two portions of our appointed readings… first, where the writer to the Hebrews declares the simple, but profound phrase, “holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling” (Hebrews 3:1) and also our Gospel lesson where we are told that our Lord, “took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain.” (Luke 9: 28)
At one time not all that long before this, Peter, James and John went wherever they wanted to go. They were their own “masters” if you will. But then… then, they met Jesus… this Jesus… and things were never the same again.
Our Lord called to the men and bid them to come and follow Him… though He did not tell them where or for how long… what they would do or what would happen.
And these three disciples, along with the others did just that… they left everything and simply followed the One who would now be their Master… their Rabbi… their Teacher… their whole life.
And what a journey it would be… what things the disciples would see… what things they would hear… what they will encounter and endure. It was by no means easy and yet, they continued to follow this Jesus who now… in today’s text… takes Peter and John and James and they go up as it says, “on the mountain.”
We are told that they went up for the specific purpose of praying… for the purpose of communicating… talking with God the Father. That certainly was not unusual. Our Lord and the disciples did this daily and they would often go off… go away to be alone… removed from other people and distractions… away from all the commotion… so that they could focus on what they were praying, saying and conveying to their heavenly Father.
What was unusual though, is what happened next. We read, “And as he [Jesus] was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white. And behold, two men were talking with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.” (Luke 9: 29-31 ESV)
What an amazing and breath-taking sight this must have been. To see Jesus transformed… in all of His glory… radiant white… dazzling bright. That is to say, it must have been an amazing sight for Peter, James and John AFTER they had been roused from their sleep.
Our text says, “Now Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep, but when they became fully awake they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. And as the men were parting from him, Peter said to Jesus, ‘Master, it is good that we are here.’” (Luke 9: 32-33)
Dear brothers and sisters, we know that Jesus’ transfiguration is a source of great comfort and peace for all of us. It is a glimpse into the future… our future. It is a preview of what will happen after our Savior accomplishes all things for us at Jerusalem… on a cross.
That three days later He will rise again and ascend into glory as our victorious Lord and King to rule over all things until He comes again in glory.
It all ends in glory… for Jesus… and for us… yes… US… you and me and all of our Lord’s faithful disciples… His true disciples… all whom He has called to follow Him and all who have done just that in their earthly life.
Even though we do not know what may come our way… where our Lord is leading us day-by-day… even though the road is a rough one with many obstacles… many challenges… still we follow because we cannot imagine being separated from Jesus. We cannot imagine a day going by and certainly a week not listening to Him, hearing His Word and all that He has to say to us personally and directly.
Why? Because His Word is living and alive. It speaks to us today. It is exactly what we need to read, hear and heed today. His Word is our comfort. His Word is our strength… our assurance… our hope… our consolation… our compass… a light to our path.
And so we humbly and faithfully follow our Lord… our Savior, Christ Jesus who… just as He did with Peter, James and John… so too with us… He takes us up the mountain… higher and higher spiritually and eventually physically.
For there will come a time my friends, when… just like Peter, James and John… we will be roused from having fallen asleep in Jesus and we will see our Lord in all His glory. We will be with our Lord in glory. And we will not be alone, but rather with all of our fellow brothers and sisters in the faith including Moses and Elijah. We will be in heaven and we will exclaim the very same words as Peter “Tis good Lord to be here!”
The only difference is, unlike what Peter, James and John experienced on the Mount of Transfiguration… our experience will not end… the glory will not end. We will never have to leave… all because our Lord Jesus did leave… He did go down the mountain… out of love for us… out of love for all mankind.
He came down the “mountain” … from heaven that is, and was made man. One of us… for us.
He came down the mountain… the Mount of Transfiguration and went to Jerusalem. He went to the cross. He went to Mount Calvary there to suffer and die in our place… for OUR sins. It has all been done. It is all finished. All accomplished.
Dearly beloved, what awaits us is nothing but glory… we who, as the writer to Hebrews puts it, “share in a heavenly calling.” Let that sink in. Let us keep this in mind and take it to heart as we now leave the mountain before us today and follow our Lord to Jerusalem and to the cross during the Season of Lent which begins this very Wednesday… Ash Wednesday.
What awaits us is nothing but glory. Let us keep this mind and take to heart as you and I leave this sanctuary and follow our Lord wherever He may lead us for the rest of today, tomorrow, the next day and the next.
Don’t be dismayed. Don’t be deterred. Do not despair. Keep your eyes on the One who is leading us home… to heaven… and on the way is feeding us, protecting and preserving us until we find ourselves in glory that knows no end.
As He once took with Him Peter, James and John… so it will be… soon it will be… us! In the name of the Father and of the X Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
May the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus unto life everlasting. Amen.
“He Took With Him” 3/3/19 The Rev. Mark H Hein, St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Lockport, IL.