A few months ago, I gave my very first sermon. Today, I would like to share it with you.
"Glorification in its Finest"
There are very few times in the Bible where God speaks. If
we sit here and just imagine for a moment or two what His voice actually sounds
like, our thoughts would be completely different. It's nice to imagine what the
voice of our Father actually sounds like, and until we finally hear it that's
all we really can do. Today, however, we are going to be taking a look at one
of the very few passages in the Gospel of Mark in which God's voice is heard. It is found in the gospel of Mark and it is the scene of the Transfiguration of Christ. If you would, open your Bibles with me to Mark 9 starting with verse 2 and following, and envision yourself into the scene that these words are about to paint for you.
Six days later, Jesus took
with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by
It's important to keep in mind here that six days prior to Jesus leading
Peter, James, and John up this high mountain, Jesus had already predicted his death. Imagine
yourself as one of the disciples at this point. What would you think if Jesus
predicted his very own death before your ears? Would you even know what to
think? Would you believe him? Peter sure didn't.
If we take a step back and look at Mark 8:32 and following, we learn that
Jesus speaks plainly about his death. Peter
chooses not to believe the words of the Son of God and instead takes him aside
and begins to rebuke him. Jesus looks at Peter and in response says, "Get
BEHIND me Satan! You do NOT have in mind the things of
God, but the things of man." Imagine the eye contact between Peter and
Jesus in the moments exchanged of rebuking one another.
And he was transfigured
before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them.
Again, place yourself into the shoes of these disciples.
Have you ever
climbed a mountain? If so, you know just how easily it can wear you out. I
can't help but think how tired the disciples must have been. Rest was the last
thing Jesus had in mind for his dearest disciples and closest friends, however.
It was more like affirmation, and the grandest one of them all.
Here they are, having finally reached the top of the mountain, and Jesus
is transfigured before their very own eyes. He glows the whitest of any white
ever known to the eye of man. If the disciples were even the least bit tired
beforehand, they certainly were not anymore! This was quite the wake up call
for them- and in more ways than one I'd say.
Think about the doubt that the disciples had leading up to this event,
specifically in Mark 4 when Jesus clams the storm (in the midst of the storm at
sea, Jesus was sleeping while the disciples were terrified out of their minds.
so what do they do? they wake him, Jesus calms the storm, and then he proceeds
to question their faith) or what about Mark 6 when Jesus feeds the 5,000? (the
disciples had returned from where Jesus had sent them out to, they were tired
and hungry, and Jesus tells them to feed the large crowd of followers instead.)
With only 5 loaves and 2 fish, the apostles highly doubt that they can feed
everyone. With those same 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish, Jesus fed 5,000. 5,000!
and don't forget the latter half of Mark 6 when Jesus walks on water. The
disciples, headed to Bethsaida,
spot Jesus walking on the water towards the boat and what do they do? They
freak out, assuming that what they're seeing is the ghost of Jesus. Does Jesus
not have the right to ask the disciples about their faith constantly like he
And now, three of Jesus' closest
disciples, watch as he is transfigured before their very own eyes. But it
doesn't just stop there.
And there appeared to them
Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus,
“Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings,
one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He did not know what to
say, for they were terrified. Then a cloud overshadowed
them, and from the cloud there came a voice, “This is my Son, the Beloved;
listen to him!” Suddenly when they looked
around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus.
Peter is certainly right by saying it is good for them to be where they were in those few moments. It WAS good for them to be there because God was blessing them! Not really sure of what to say, Peter
suggests building shelters for the three. The experienced glory of God's Son is wonderful, and Peter wants to make it last a little longer. He does not have much time to continue his offer, though,
because it is here that God is ready to do the talking.
Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!” Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only
Here the disciples are- on top of this high mountain, alone with the Son of God transfigured in all his glory before their very own eyes. This is such a wake up call for the disciples, and if that's not
enough as is, God overshadows them and says, "THIS is my Son, the Beloved; LISTEN to him!" Talk about the climax of a story. This is it! And just as fast as it happens, it, too, ends in the blink of an eye.
The cloud is gone.
The voice is gone.
Elijah is gone.
And Moses is gone.
But Jesus is still there. And all eyes are on him.
In these few moments, the veil is lifted and the disciples catch a glimpse of the very reality of Jesus' life. The Transfiguration foreshadows what is yet to come; the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In these few moments, any doubt that the disciples once had was replaced with Truth. And this Truth was confirmed by the Source of truth himself, Someone whose name reaches higher than any mountain ever will. God bends down and speaks into the ears of the three.
"This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him."
Three words, one command.
Listen to him.
Listen to him.
Just like the disciples then, we, as the disciples today cover ourselves in dirt; we're sinners. We don't always listen. We have doubts, questions, fears, and we, too, disobey. But if I know anything about the God that we serve, it is this: God picks us up and wipes us off just as often as we receive His love, His grace, His kindness, and His mercy- and this is an everyday event. He does this not because He has to, but because He wants to. It is an act of Love, and it is through such a beautiful display of affection that we are reminded of our worth, even when we don't feel worthy. And this worth is found in Him.
We are called. We are chosen. And we are Loved.
And we are called to live out of this place of Love, just as Jesus did.
There is no better example to live by than the life he lived. What began on that mountain then continues today inside each and every one of
us. God is greater than any of our fears, any of our doubts; everything. And although we may not witness some of the things that the disciples did during Jesus' life here on earth, we do know that God is always present, God is always seeking, and God is always faithful.
Live with an awareness of His presence and allow yourself to be transfigured into the glory of God.