Sermon Starters

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Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Editor

Festival Of The Transfiguration

Option #1: "A Look Into The Future"
Matthew 17:1-9
Rev. Wayne Dobratz, B.A., M.Div.

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: "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: "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 15:5). He 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, 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--see Gal 6:2 & 10, Heb 10:24, James 2:17-18, 1 Pet 2:12, Eph 2:10

C.S. Lewis: "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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Children’s Message

(Matt 17:1) After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2) There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.

Today is the first Sunday in February. That means that it won’t be too long and it will be Spring! One of the things I really like to do when the weather is nice is to go camping. Do you ever go camping? If you do, maybe you stay in one of these (tent picture) or in one of these (pop-up camper).

The Bible story for today is about three followers of Jesus seeing him in a way they had never seen him before. The Bible says he was changed (transfigured). The word means what happens when this guy (caterpillar) becomes this guy (Monarch butterfly).

The Bible tells us that Jesus’ face was shining as brightly as the sun and his clothes were as white as light. This is the way Jesus looks as the Son of God, the way we will see him when we get to heaven. When Peter saw this, he said something that we all can learn from. He said: "Let’s stay here. I’ll make some tents for you, Jesus, and for Moses and Elijah." Let’s set up a camp and stay here!

But Jesus said "No." Here’s why: Maybe you’ve gone camping on Memorial Day and you just hate to go back home. The weather was great, the swimming was fun; you want to have some more s’mores and, if you go back home, you have to go back to school for another week or so.

Jesus said "No" because he still had to die on the cross for our sins. Peter and the other disciples had work to do to make sure that many more people could go to heaven.

We have work to do also before we can go to heaven and stay there. We have people to take along with us. When God sees that our work is done, then we can go there too. But not before. So let’s get busy! Let’s take as many people along to heaven with us. Let’s tell them about Jesus so they can see His glory too.

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Option #2: "Go (Trans)figure!"
Matthew 17:1-9
Rev. Kelly Bedard, B.A., M.Div.

The Point: Transfiguration experiences are available to and for all of us!

The Problem: We wear "glory-blinders," difficult living/lives, failing and flailing flesh, and distracting devil(s) deterring us from the reality of God's presence and power for, in and through us.

The Promise: Because the Lord of glory became flesh for us--a humiliating transfiguration--suffered for us--a horrible disfiguration--died for us--a blessed configuration of God's justice and mercy--and rose for us--a thrilling prefiguration of our own resurrection to life--we live for and glorify Him.
(Based on a sermon outline from Elliott Robertson)
1.We must not imagine a Jesus gluttonous for adoration or a god behind him equally representative of the will to power. This is the Jesus who leads us on and out into love and service, self-giving for others. (William Loader)
2.This presentation of Jesus as a prophet is underscored by Jesus' transfigured clothing--not regal purple, like the pretenders to the title of "Lord" who call themselves Caesars, nor like richly multi-colored robes worn by the Temple hierarchy and purchased with revenues from poor Israelites, but pure, simple white. (Neyrey)
3. No matter how loosely tied to the text it might be, I really resonate with [Sr. Joan] Chittister’s call to re-examine our own “holiness,” not only in terms we currently understand but in terms which might be quite different from those that give us religious, political, moral, and/or cultural "rewards." (Jenee Woodard)
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This page was revised on: Friday, January 20, 2006 12:10:35 PM