Today is transfiguration Sunday. It’s one of my favorite passages in the bible. The kingdom on earth is revealed. Jesus is revealed as the ultimate glory of God on earth. Now, I am going to start at verse 28 though and not 36. I had asked that George omit the transfiguration because I don’t want you focusing on Jesus’ transfiguration. I know that sounds counterproductive and not at all what common-sense dictates, but you will see it is not only Jesus that is transfigured this day but we as well. But I wanted to lead you through those passages as an introduction to what is the more significant transformation for us. Do not get me wrong the glory of Christ revealed is my and every other pastors’ most profound and heartfelt desire, and that we might bear witness to it as Peter, John, and James did. Not only that we might see it but that you too will see it. That’s why I serve, because I do not want anyone to be deprived of that sight, deprived of that relationship. So, let me read to you: Jesustook with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. Jesus assumed His authority, if only for a moment, the amount of time is irrelevant it doesn’t matter because we see the kingdom of God as it will be with Jesus as Lord. But that’s not the real focus of this passage, what was Jesus doing when he was transfigured? Praying. While He was praying His face and clothes changed. Isn’t that what we hope for when we pray, transformation? We’re not happy with the way things are and we want to transform our lives. Right…Of course. We want what we’ve been promised and only God can do that for us, but only through Jesus are we transformed.
Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him. They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Jesus is discussing Gods plans for Him in the coming days. Meaning He is discussing His plans for us, because it is our salvation that He is about to secure. The bible doesn’t say why Jesus felt the need to speak with Moses and Elijah and maybe He did not, perhaps He was explaining the plan to them so that all would go according to the will of God, maybe the prophets were upset like Peter at the thought of Jesus dying, of God dying and descending to the depths. Whatever the reason Jesus called an executive meeting and Peter, James, and John saw the Lord revealed. They saw the kingdom and they wanted a piece of it now, not later. Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. Just as they were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah”—not knowing what he said. I love Peter because he is us, magnified, our strengths and our weaknesses and I really like these verses, it shows the humanity of the disciples, it makes them men and not mythical saints, or mystical holy men, just regular guys. Hey this is a great place, I don’t understand a thing that’s going on but I like it so let’s build a house and keep it to ourselves. I can understand greed and ignorance because that’s where humanity is most vulnerable. Like I said last week, the greatest sins against us are deception and betrayal. We deceive the ignorant and we betray them out of greed. It all comes down to theft, but that’s another sermon. We need to be transfigured, we need Jesus to lead the way for us, because without Him we are ignorant and greedy, we are lost without Him. While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!” When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they had seen. Like I said strengths and weaknesses. It makes sense to be terrified when you are confronted by the unknown and it’s obviously more powerful than you, the creator of the universe. It just wouldn’t be realistic or sane not be. Seriously. At the same time though God is love, so why are we terrified of love. Ask anyone and they’ll tell you they are afraid to commit to a relationship because they fear the loss of freedom. We fear the loss of control and we don’t want to be hurt.
But God is love and Jesus came to bring love to us. Love transforms us, love makes us what we are. Love set us free from the bondage of the law. So why then do we keep it to ourselves? How come we keep silent and tell no one. Not in those days and not in these days. How come we don’t want to share our transformation with the world? Why do we keep it to ourselves? On the next day, when they had come down from the mountain, a great crowd met him. Just then a man from the crowd shouted, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son; he is my only child. Suddenly a spirit seizes him, and all at once heshrieks. It convulses him until he foams at the mouth; it mauls him and will scarcely leave him. Most people think this is epilepsy or some other neurological condition, even some theologians. I do not. I had a girlfriend that had grand mal seizures and they can be violent but not like Luke describes it. Also speaking is not an option, much less shrieking, foaming at the mouth. Is it epilepsy or rabies? No, the poor boy is tormented by a demon, an evil spirit. I know that’s something that Americans in particular have a tough time believing in. Our brothers and sisters on the African continent do not have a problem with this and I have met several that have experienced this evil and whether or not you believe doesn’t matter. It’s sort of like God, it does not matter whether you believe in Him or not because He believes in you. Regardless, they are real, and they are dangerous. Most are nuisances, irritants. They are the ones that cause us to do stupid things like beat a child half to death for laughing to loud. Take that last drink and pass on a free ride home, only to go on to kill a family of four with your car. Hollywood has glamorized the devils that pursue us and made demons into mythical, greedy, fork tailed caricatures of humanity. They are not glamorous, nor are they mythical, anymore than angels are and I have no idea about tails. The demons I am concerned with are persistent and evil thoughts, spirits, and actions that have no reason, no origin, but they won’t go away, in fact they are empowered by todays culture. I am not talking about legitimate psychological concerns or physical illnesses, although those to can be transformed by the grace that Christ extended to us from the cross. I am talking about addiction, murder, physical and sexual abuse. They are labeled as illnesses and science “explains” them away, but they can’t be cured. Because they are not illnesses, they are choices. Choices that we make as individuals. And these choices are transformative, true it’s not the kind of transformation either you or I want. It’s the transformation that Satan wants, and society promotes.
I begged your disciples to cast it out, but they could not.” Jesus answered, “You faithless and perverse generation, how much longer must I be with you and bear with you? Bring your son here.” We are not helpless here, just as the poor man whose son was afflicted by a demon, was not helpless. Just because the world wants you to be helpless and insecure. Just because a society promotes immoral and unethical perversions as wholesome fun for the family does not mean that we have no choice. The problem is, the demons know we do, and they try there damnedest to fool us and make us question ourselves and our sanity. While he was coming, the demon dashed him to the ground in convulsions. That’s why Christians’ are often the focus of trials and tribulations, not because God hates us, God is love, He wants only good for us. Rather it’s because the Devil hates us and wants our misery. Pretty simple, yes. But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, healed the boy, and gave him back to his father. Jesus transformed him. He completely remade that boy into a child of God. He stripped the demon from him and banished it. We’re not talking about a nuisance here we are talking about the kind that can physically assault you, even cause you to kill yourself. Great evil. But not greater than God. Not greater than the power of Christ to transform our lives. We only have to ask, as the man asked. A simple request. Jesus come into my heart, I repent, I know you are the life and the resurrection, transform me Lord, use me Lord. That is what Transfiguration Sunday is about. It’s all about the power of God to transform our lives and bring us into the Kingdom of God. And all were astounded at the greatness of God. AMEN!