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The Transfiguration Of Our Lord
Last Sunday Of Epiphany

Option #1: "A Preview of What's to Come"
Matthew 17:1-9

Rev. Wayne Dobratz

I. We will see the Lord as He really is–cf. Matt 16:27, John 1:14, John 17:5

II. Jesus’ transfiguration is a preview of God’s children having glorified bodies–Phil 3:21, Matt 13:43, Rom 8:17, Col 3:4

Martin Luther explains the sudden appearance of Moses and Elijah with Jesus on the mountain: "Here God teaches by the reappearance of these men that those whom we call dead are not dead and that the death of believers is really an ascent and removal to a brighter and happier existence in the light of God’s presence."

Adam Clarke writes: "Elijah came from heaven in the same body which he had upon earth, for he was translated, and did not see death, 2 Kings 2:11. And the body of Moses was probably raised again, as a pledge of the resurrection; and as Christ is to come to judge the quick and the dead, for we shall not all die, but all shall be changed, 1 Corinthians 15:51, he probably gave the full representation of this in the person of Moses, who died, and was thus raised to life, and in the person of Elijah, who never tasted death. Both their bodies exhibit the same appearance, to show that the bodies of glorified saints are the same, whether the person had been translated, or whether he had died. It was a constant and prevalent tradition among the Jews, that both Moses and Elijah should appear in the times of the Messiah, and to this very tradition the disciples refer, Matthew 17:10. We may conceive that the law in the person of Moses, the great Jewish legislator, and the prophets in the person of Elijah, the chief of the prophets, came now to do homage to Jesus Christ, and to render up their authority into his hands; as he was the END of the law, and the grand subject of the predictions of the prophets. This appears more particularly from what St. Luke says, Luke 9:31, that Moses and Elijah conversed with our Lord on his death, which he was about to accomplish, (πληρουν, to fulfill), because in it, all the rites, ceremonies, and sacrifices of the law, as well as the predictions of the prophets, were fulfilled."

III. Like Peter, we would like to remain on the mountain, but there is work to do below–Gal 6:2 & 10, Heb 10:24, James 2:17-18, 1 Pet 2:12, Eph 2:10

C.S. Lewis wrote: "If you read history, you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next world. The apostles themselves who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, ... the English evangelicals who abolished the slave trade and others like them–all left their marks on earth, precisely because their minds were occupied on heaven. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think about that other world that they have become so ineffective in this world. Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in; aim at earth and you will get neither."

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Option #2: "Behind Every Cloud is...Jesus!"
Matthew 17:1-9
Rev. Kelly Bedard

A. Delusions of Grandeur

       1. Glorying in glory--glorious works and/or visions–not The Glorified One (Jesus)

       2. Self-service and -serving, having our own needs met–even meeting God's(!)

B. Grander Delusions

       1. The Glorified One–Jesus–standing in the "line of fire" on our behalf

       2. The Spirit empowering us to listen to new-sounding Law & Gospel messages


1. Once upon a time a teenager was in a car wreck which totally wrecked the family car and just about totally wrecked her. And it wasn't her fault, though the last thing she thought before she lost consciousness was that her parents would blame her anyway. So she hovered between life and death for almost a week. She couldn't say a word when her mother and father came to visit her. "Why are they crying?" she wondered. "Why aren't they shouting at me because of my reckless driving?" Then she understood. "They think I'm going to die. Maybe they're right. Maybe I am going to die. That's kind of geeky." But she was so doped up and so weak she didn't much mind. "She's going!" shouted a nurse. The doctors rushed into the room to try to save her. "That's alright," she said, "like I don't mind dying, not really." "Don't die!" her mother wailed. "Don't die!" her father wailed. "Please don't die!" her little sister, who was like a total brat, wailed. She died anyway, floated out of her body, watched from the ceiling for a few moments, said, "Forget about it!" and then drifted off. The next thing she knew she was facing God. "You're here a little early," God said. "It wasn't my fault!" she pleaded, suspecting that God was like a parent. "I know THAT," God said. "You like this place?" She looked around heaven and said, "Yeah, it's totally neat." "Do you want to stay here?" "Why not?" "Or do you want to go back and take care of your family for, like, sixty more years or so?" "Why?" "Your family needs you. They'll fall apart without you." "You're sure I can get back in?" "Like totally," God goes. She sighed, "OK, but sometimes my family are nerds." "And you never are?" "Well, sometimes." Because God wanted her to, she went back to her family, got better and took care of them. And they didn't blame her for the accident. I won't say that they all lived happily ever after, but they lived a lot better than they would have if she had stayed in heaven. (Andrew Greeley)

2. In a  supermarket, Kurtis the stock boy was busily working when a new voice came over the loudspeaker asking for a carry-out at check register #4. Kurtis was almost finished and wanted to get some fresh air, so decided to answer the call. As he approached the check-out stand from a distance, a smile caught his eye; the new check-out girl was beautiful. She was an older woman--maybe 26, and he was  only 22--and he fell in love. Later that day after his shift was over, he waited by the punch clock to find out her name. She came into the break room, smiled softly at him, and took her card and punched out, then left. He looked at her card: BRENDA. He walked out, only to see her start walking up the road. Next day, he waited outside as she left the supermarket and offered her a ride home. He looked harmless enough and she accepted. When he dropped her off, he asked if maybe he could see her again, outside of work. She simply said it wasn't possible. He pressed and she explained she had two children and couldn't afford a baby-sitter, so he offered to pay for the baby-sitter. Reluctantly she accepted his offer for a date for the following Saturday. That Saturday night he arrived at her door only to have her tell him that she was unable to go with him. The baby-sitter had called and canceled. To which Kurtis simply said, "Well, let's take the kids with us." She tried to explain that taking the children was not an option, but again not taking no for an answer, he pressed. Finally Brenda brought him inside to meet her children. She had an older daughter who was just as cute as a bug, Kurtis thought. Then Brenda brought out her son. In a wheelchair, he was born a paraplegic with Down Syndrome. Kurtis asked Brenda, "I still don't understand why the kids can't come with us." Brenda was amazed. Most men would run away from a woman with two kids, especially if one had disabilities–  just like her first husband and father of her children did. That evening Kurtis and Brenda loaded up the kids, went to dinner and the movies. When her son needed anything, Kurtis would take care of him. When he needed to use the restroom, he picked him up out of his chair, took him, brought him back. The kids loved Kurtis. At the end of the evening, Brenda knew this was the man she was going to marry and spend the rest of her life with. A year later, they were married and Kurtis adopted both of her children, and since they have added two more kids. So what happened to the stock boy and check-out girl? Well, Mr. & Mrs. Kurt Warner now live in St. Louis, where he is employed by the St. Louis Rams and plays quarterback.

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