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

Festival Of The Transfiguration-B

Option A:

Heavenly Hearing
(Mark 9:7c)

A. Competing Voices

1. Panic: time's short!

2. Pain: (guilt) I promised!

3. People: indispensable me

B. Completing Voices

1. Affirmation: we are loved by God

2. Adoration: so we spend time alone with Him

3. Apprenticeship: it's a life-long learning process, but He is with us all the way!

Kelly Bedard, B.A., M.Div.

Option B:

A "Mountain Top" Vacation
Mark 9:2-9

I. It had a beautiful view
II. It had good company
III. It prepared them for the future

"I sure could use a little time off right now!"  The lingering months of winter do that to us. Jesus and the disciples felt that way at times too. Their schedule could get pretty hectic. We read in Mk. 6:31 Because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, Jesus said to them: Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.

Today is the last Sunday before Lent. Epiphany begins with  the Christmas
star and ends with the face of Jesus shining like the sun. We say with the
disciples: "Lord, it is good for us to be here."

I. It had a beautiful view
 When you choose a spot for a vacation, you want a place with a view. This "Mountain Top" Vacation has all of that and more. The startled disciples saw
what God's people had been praying for whenever they spoke/sang the words of
Ps. 27: 

"One thing I ask of the Lord; this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple." 

John says in his gospel that Jesus was "tabernacling" with us in
the human flesh John 1:14). Now he allows them to see a glimpse of the glory
he had with the Father before time began. He was transfigured before them.

The word is metamorphoo. And what a transformation it was! His clothes
became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them.
Now there was a sight they would never forget! The dreary days of winter
make some folks depressed. They call it "Seasonal Affective Disorder." Light
changes our mood. So this light shining from Jesus "set the mood" for the
disciples. It does that for us too, as we recall that this is the great God
Himself who veils His glory and empties Himself so that he might be
crucified for our sins.

II. It had good company
 A great vacation usually includes loved ones with whom we wish to spend some special time. What glorious company the "inner circle" of disciples had with Jesus on the mountain! 

"4  And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus. 5  Peter said to Jesus, 'Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters--one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.' 6  (He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.) 7  Then a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and a voice came from the cloud: "This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!"

The three disciples saw two of the greatest figures in all of Bible history.
Moses is there because he was the great giver of the Law and the leader God
chose to bring His people out of Egypt by His mighty hand. Elijah stands
there because he was the Martin Luther of his day, the great Reformer, the
man who stood for truth and the worship of the true God when evil was on the
throne and idolatry was on the loose. 

That would be enough for one heavenly experience, but there's more. They heard the voice of the Father Himself speaking from heaven. He puts His stamp of approval upon Jesus' life and impending sacrifice by saying: "This is my beloved Son whom I love. Listen to him."

III. It prepared them for the future
Imagine listening in to the conversation of Jesus, Moses and Elijah. That's
exactly what the Holy Spirit allows us to do. They spoke about his
departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment in Jerusalem. We read
in Luke 9:31 that they were speaking of Jesus' exodus. Jesus' sacrifice will
lead his people out of the slavery of sin and death into his light and the
glorious freedom of the children of God. This mountain-top vacation prepared
them for the future.

Peter wanted to stay here, build some shelters here. But Jesus said no.
Jesus still had to face the cross. Death still had to be conquered.  After
he rose from the dead, there was work to be done below. There were souls to
be saved. That task is still ours today. Peter wrote years later of how this mountain- top vacation lighted up every day of his life thereafter: 

"16  We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17  For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." 18  We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain. 19  And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts (2 Peter 1:16 NIV)."

We have much the same opportunity for refreshment and the lifting of our spirits whenever we gather for worship.  What is worship? It is the exposure of what man is to what he can become.

It is the knife of conscience removing that which offends. It is the medicine of the Great Physician for tired bodies and weary souls. It is the hand of a small child seeking the hand of his Father. It is permitting our bodies to rest while our souls catch up. It is our little soul seeking the bigness of God. God bless you, dear Preacher, as you enlighten the lives of those whom you serve with the transforming light of Jesus.

Wayne Dobratz

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This page was revised on: Friday, January 20, 2006 12:10:32 PM