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The Transfiguration Of Our Lord
Series B

 Option One: "A Mountain-Top Vacation"
Mark 9:2-9
Rev. Wayne Dobratz, M.Div.

  I. It had a good view--text, vv2-3; Ps 27:4; John 1:14; 2 Cor 3:7-10; 2 Pet 1:16-18; Rev 1:13-17

 II. It had good company--John 5:39, 45-47; 1 Pet 1:10-12; 2 Kings 2:11-12; Deut 34:5-6 (note what they talked about; cf. Lk 9:30-31)

III. It prepared them for the future

    A. It was a preview of Christ’s glory--Ex 40:34; Dan 7:13-14; Matt 26:64; Rev 1:7

    B. It reminded them to listen to Jesus’ Word--Deut 18:15-19; Acts 3:22-23; John 5:22-26

Albert Barnes wrote in his commentary on a parallel text: And behold there appeared unto them Moses and Elias--Moses, a distinguished servant of God, by whom the law was given, and whose institutions typified the Messiah. It was particularly proper that he should appear, when his prophecies and types were about to be fulfilled, and the rites which he had instituted were about to be done away. Elias, or Elijah, a distinguished prophet, taken to heaven without seeing death. See 2 Kings 2:11. Elijah had been honored eminently by being thus translated, and still more by being made the model of the forerunner of the Messiah, Mal 4:5; Luke 1:17; Matt 11:14. They appeared "in glory," Luke 9:31; i.e., as they are in heaven with the glory which the redeemed have there. Talking with him--Luke 9:31 informs us that they conversed about "his departure which he should accomplish at Jerusalem." To redeemed spirits that death was an object of intense interest. By faith in that death they had been saved; and now that the Redeemer of mankind was about to die, it is no wonder that this was the burden of his and their thoughts.

Adam Clarke's Commentary on the New Testament: Matthew 17:3, Moses and Elijah--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, (or appeared now as he shall appear when raised from the dead in the last day), 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, (to fulfill), because in it, all the rites, ceremonies, and sacrifices of the law, as well as the predictions of the prophets, were fulfilled.

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Children’s Message on Mark 9:2

Today is the first Sunday in March. That means that it won’t be 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 same word is used to mean 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 just 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.

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 as we can. That's why we are here as Christ's Church. 

Wayne Dobratz

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Option #2: "From Tension to 'Attention!' to 'Tention'"! 
Mark 9:2-9 
Rev. Kelly Bedard, M.Div.

(This outline is inspired from a homiletical help written by Richard Warneck in Concordia Journal, January 2003)

1. Help to rise above the day: to lift our spirits above the present fallen age and our self-inflicted disappointments

2. Help to comprehend the cross: from complacency to fear to excitement to incitement

3. Help to anticipate glory with God: through whatever days we face for a little time yet on earth's calendar


1. Besides the theme of the disciples' blindness (or stupidity) in Mark, there is also the theme of Jesus' faithfulness to his blind disciples. Given the choice of glory on a mountain or death on a cross, which is more attractive? Jesus comes down the mountain. He will not give up on his disciples. He not give up his divine mission for the sake of all humanity. (Brian Stoffregen)

2. Fear, rightful fear. When face to face with God, fear is the proper posture for a sinner. But not so when Jesus has taken you along to face the divine majesty. The three chief disciples are not (yet) "listening to him." Their fear is coupled with not using Jesus as their own "cover" for facing God. Fear in NT language is the opposite of faith. Fear is un-faith. (Ed Schroeder)

3. Excursus: Read it and weep. An Aussie pastor sent me a photo-copy this week of the new edition of Luther's Small Catechism just printed down under. The Lutheran publishers have excised "fear" from Luther's explanation of the Ten Commandments. No longer are Aussie Lutherans to learn that we are to "fear, love and trust in God," but to "honor, love and trust God" instead. The wimpy notion that "fearing God" even in the NT is not really fear, but rather "respect, reverence, honor," has here won the day. These Lutherans appear to have un-learned the primal law-gospel distinction about responding to God.

Luther parsed it this way: "Fear" is the Biblically appropriate response for sinners confronting God on their own, without a Christ-cover. The trouble with many whom Jesus encounters in the gospels is that they do NOT fear God. Thus Jesus in Luke 12:5 makes it explicit that God is the only proper one to be feared, and he gives his reason for saying that.

By the same token "love and trust" is the rightful--and yes, indeed, opposite--response for the same sinners confronting the same God when they are clothed in Christ's garments. There is no way that we can read "fear" in the NT, as in this Markan text, and call it honor. It's too late to stop the presses in Adelaide. Let's hope for a second edition--soon! (Ed Schroeder)

4. The turf here is the heart. Faith displaces fear. Switching our headphones from all the other persons/programs we listen to (and trust), especially in our day when our culture, the media and the manifold communication superhighways inundate us with other programs to listen to, to trust. Listening to the metamorphosed Jesus brings with it a similar metamorphosis in the listener. To move from the ear to the eye metaphor: "listening to him" equals "seeing only Jesus." (Ed Schroeder)

5. Tenting on earth, not up on the heavenly mountains. Now "knowing what to say." Now "telling what we have seen." Such clarity about the metamorphosed Jesus and the subsequent metamorphosis of ourselves gets lived out in the world. Confession. Discipleship. Having received the costly grace of this beloved son, we live our own lives as the "tent" for him to dwell in. But such tenting is not having a tent for Jesus alongside of other tents in which we dwell with others of his competitors. Such living, such tent-making, is done fearlessly, eyes open, heads lifted up. (Ed Schroeder)

6. From tension (fear) to "attention!" (listening) to "tention" (being a tent for God)!

7. Someone has said that there are only two kinds of speakers: those who have something to say; and those who have to say something! (Ray Stedman)

Rev. Kelly Bedard

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