22/2/04 10 a.m. Family Service Luke 9:28-36
28 About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. 29 As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. 30 Two men, Moses and Elijah, 31 appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem. 32 Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. 33 As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, "Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters - one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah." (He did not know what he was saying.) 34 While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. 35 A voice came from the cloud, saying, "This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him." 36 When the voice had spoken, they found that Jesus was alone. The disciples kept this to themselves, and told no one at that time what they had seen.
Look at 'Who am I', pictures of babies/young people and guess who they are. Answers: 1) George W. Bush ( baby ) with Barbara and George Snr. 2) Prince Charles 3) Chloe, our child! 4) Tony Blair 5) Michael Jackson 6) Britney Spears 7) Michael Owen
We look at the pictures of these people and think, 'Haven't they changed'. In today's Bible reading Jesus changed in front of three of his followers. Yet this was a different type of transformation. The people in those pictures are still human beings, still have the same D.N.A., the same fingerprints, the same colour eyes, and so on.
Jesus was transfigured, the Greek is metamorphosis. It refers to a whole change of being.
Jesus' face shone, reminding us of the way that Moses face shone after he had been in the presence of God. The white garments suggested a pure heavenly being. This was almost certainly a glimpse of Jesus as he had been before he became a man. Jesus revealed that He is God, displaying the true majesty and glory that was hidden by his humanity.
He met with Moses and Elijah, both long dead whose lives featured suffering and rejection. Jesus would endure those things at a deeper level. For Jesus would endure the suffering of the cross, the rejection of the people who he had come to save, and separation from God as he took upon himself the punishment for the sins of the world. This was the departure they spoke about. One which would lead to the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
I don't know if anyone here has ever met anyone famous. Ask. Who was it? Ask the person how they reacted. Were they nervous/tongue tied?
I once heard someone say that the only time they opened their mouth was to put their foot in it ! Do you ever say or do anything on the spur of the moment and then wish you hadn't ? Perhaps Peter felt like this when he recalled his impulsive behaviour after this incident. He rejoiced in this experience and wants to prolong the event by making temporary shelters like those erected at the Feast of Tabernacles, which was a joyous festival of God's presence. Verse 33 suggests that he was so dumbfounded by the experience that what he said was irrational. Perhaps he thought that this would be a permanent arrangement and that they could be visited on this mountain.
This begs the question, 'How do we respond to Jesus?'
We need not be overawed and irrational. The reason that God became a man was so that we could know God is like, what we should be like, and so we can have a right relationship with God.
We need to know that Jesus is God and that on the cross he took the punishment for our failure to live life the way God wants us to.
35 A voice came from the cloud, saying, "This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him."
Like those first disciples we need to listen to the words of Jesus and act upon them. To follow His ways.
John Kenneth Galbraith, in his autobiography, A Life in Our Times, illustrates the devotion of Emily Gloria Wilson, his family's housekeeper:
"It had been a wearying day, and I asked Emily to hold all telephone calls while I had a nap. Shortly thereafter the phone rang. Lyndon Johnson was calling from the White House.
"Get me Ken Galbraith. This is Lyndon Johnson."
"He is sleeping, Mr. President. He said not to disturb him."
"Well, wake him up. I want to talk to him."
"No, Mr. President. I work for him, not you. "
When I called the President back, he could scarcely control his pleasure. "Tell that woman I want her here in the White House."
This reading is about revelation and response. God has revealed himself in Jesus. We are called to obey Him and no-one else.