February 23, 2020: Transfiguration Sunday

Let us pray: Dear Savior, on this glorious day we rejoice and revel in Your glory!  How amazing it is that You have resolved the totality of creation in Your very Being!  How amazing it is that the eternal glories of heaven are but a hairs-breath from the present reality we’re in and that it all awaits us!  Thank You for revealing all this to us today!  Amen


TEXT:  Matthew 17: 1-9

Dearly Beloved By Christ: 

          The clock is running and the countdown is on!  The 40 days of Lent are almost upon us, followed by Holy Week and Easter.  Today, as a prelude, we get a little glimpse of the glory that awaits the holiest day of the Church year.  And on this Transfiguration Sunday, I want you to key in on the numbers: 3, 2, and 1.


          God uses numbers for a reason.  Recall: “All things have been written for our learning.”  So, what about the number 3?  Immediately we think of the Holy Trinity.  Three Persons joined together and comprising one God.  On that mountain we see the entire Trinity revealing Himself—The Son in the flesh, the Father in His booming voice, and the Holy Spirit in that bright, enveloping Light.  We also see the “big three” of the leadership of the fledgling Church in attendance in the persons of: Peter, James, and John.  They stand for us as we are their spiritual progeny.  So, the triad of faith and its ultimate reality is shown to the Church; what awaits us is revealed here to the believers—namely glory.  And it comes through another triad: faith alone stemming from grace alone which is given to us through Scripture alone.

          And what a glorious sight this all is! For in an  instant Christ sheds the cocoon of humanity and reveals His Divine glory!  He glows like the sun.  He reveals His eternal essence which He has kept hidden.  Peter is so overtaken by it all that he blurts out the obvious concerning remaining there and never leaving!  O to see God’s majesty with our very eyes!  All sin and sorrow fades into oblivion.  It must be so, for God is pure light and pure love!  In Him dwells no darkness at all!


          The countdown continues with the number 2.  In an instant the two greatest heroes of the OT appear alongside the Lord.  They are not Adam and Eve, or Samson and King David.  No, they are Moses and Elijah.  Obviously both reside in heaven.  But here at their Savior’s call they appear alongside Him.  They talk to Him.  Their glorious splendor is clearly visible.  Again this shows us just how close heaven is to our reality—that proverbial hair’s-breath away.  What are they discussing?  The very thing they believed, taught, preached, and confessed—His coming into the flesh to save lost sinners via His death and resurrection.  The OT is usually designated as: “The Law and the Prophets.”  The entire OT confesses how Christ came to fulfill God’s Law and the prophets applied that truth. Moses was God’s lawgiver who set God’s people apart for His holy use.  Elijah was the greatest of God’s prophets who was assumed directly into glory without tasting death.  The symmetry of God’s plan of our salvation is clearly seen in their meeting with Christ, Who is the center of it all! 

          Yes, transfiguration is all about God bringing resolution to His eternal plans for us.  What they are experiencing at that instant in time and in our instant of time is clearly confessed in God’s living Word: Jesus Christ.  So what we currently hear with our ears will also be seen with our eyes whenever God wishes. 


          And now the countdown reaches finality in the number 1.  Christ is #1.  As Revelation states: “He is the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”  Christ occupies center stage.  It must be so!  For He is God’s love in human form.  Love that may, at times, be hidden behind frail flesh.  Love that is often hidden behind mere human language.  Love that is also embedded beneath the simple water of baptism or the humble elements of bread and wine in the Holy Supper.  But that Love always wants His people to know the glories that He provides to believers thereby.  For just as He was real on that ancient mountain, hidden and then glorious, so He provides us life-changing, miraculous uplifting today. 

          Do you think the disciples came away from that mountaintop weaker in their faith or stronger?  The answer is obvious.  So it is for you, too, as you hear His Word of truth, rejoice in your baptism, and commune on His very body and blood. 

          Now that we’ve arrived at # 1, the only thing left is for us to experience and behold is glory.  For then we will see him with our eyes, too.  When we do, all the problems we face and the hardships we struggle with will dissolve in His joyous presence.  All creation will find final resolution.  My friends, hold onto such a vision of bliss just like Peter, James and John!  And never forget it all awaits you through faith in Christ.  Right now we’re all caught up in worldly blindness as to what God’s reality actually is.  But someday soon those blinders will come off and ecstatic, insightful vision bathed in God’s Light will be ours, as well.  Amen


Pastor Thomas H. Fox

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