“Best Picture: The Transfiguration of Our Lord” (Matthew 17:1-9)

The Transfiguration of Our Lord
Sunday, February 26, 2017

“Best Picture: The Transfiguration of Our Lord” (Matthew 17:1-9)

Tonight will be the Academy Awards ceremony coming from Los Angeles. Tonight they’ll give out the award for, among other things, Best Picture of the year. I don’t know which one will win, but I want to tell you, this morning here in the church, we get to see a far better “Best Picture,” and it is none other than “The Transfiguration of Our Lord.”

The picture we see at the Transfiguration had its share of special effects–lighting, sound, and so on. And there were a couple of guest stars making a cameo appearance–Moses and Elijah. But clearly the leading man in this story is our Lord Jesus Christ himself. He is the star shining most brightly. Who Jesus is revealed to be and what he’s about to do for us from this point on–that is why Jesus is the one who makes the Transfiguration the Best Picture you’ll see today.

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Published in: on February 25, 2017 at 1:27 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“The Transfiguration–and Exodus–of Our Lord” (Luke 9:28-36)

The Transfiguration of Our Lord
Sunday, February 7, 2016

“The Transfiguration–and Exodus–of Our Lord” (Luke 9:28-36)

Today is the Transfiguration of Our Lord. This is the festival we celebrate every year on the last Sunday after the Epiphany. We have seen Christ’s glory as the incarnate Son of God being manifested throughout the Epiphany season, beginning with the visit of the wise men on Epiphany itself. At the Baptism of Our Lord, Christ’s messiahship was attested and affirmed by the Holy Spirit descending on him in the form of a dove and the voice of the Father coming from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” Then we saw Jesus at the wedding at Cana, providing new wine, the best wine, for the new covenant he was establishing. In the Nazareth synagogue, Jesus read a prophecy of the Messiah to come and declared, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” And in his ministry we have seen Jesus doing just that–proclaiming good news, setting at liberty those who are oppressed.

Now today the Epiphany season reaches its climax. It is the Transfiguration of Our Lord, that momentous occasion when Jesus was manifested in his glory as God’s Son before his disciples Peter, James, and John. Moses and Elijah show up, to make clear that Jesus is the one they were pointing ahead to. And once again the voice of the Father comes, “This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!” Truly a mountaintop experience!

But today I want you to notice that this is not only about the transfiguration of our Lord, it is also about his exodus. Don’t worry, I’ll explain. And we’ll also see how this all relates to us. And so our theme this morning: “The Transfiguration–and Exodus–of Our Lord.”

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Published in: on February 6, 2016 at 6:09 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“The Transfiguration: The Bridge between Epiphany and Lent” (Mark 9:2-9)

The Transfiguration of Our Lord
Sunday, February 15, 2015

“The Transfiguration: The Bridge between Epiphany and Lent” (Mark 9:2-9)

Today is the Festival of the Transfiguration of Our Lord, remembering that day when our Lord Jesus Christ was transfigured, that is, his appearance was changed, up on a mountain. This was a key event in our Lord’s life, and it marked a turning point, a pivot point, in his ministry. So, likewise, does this festival mark a turning point, a pivot point, in the church year calendar. Transfiguration comes at the end of the Epiphany season, just a few days before the beginning of Lent. The church year mirrors the gospel narrative.

And so today, what I want to say to you is that this Feast of the Transfiguration serves as “The Bridge between Epiphany and Lent,” and perfectly so. You will see how the placement of the Transfiguration event in the context of the gospel narrative, as its pivot point–and therefore also the placement of this Transfiguration festival, in the context of the church year, as the bridge between Epiphany and Lent–how all of this works for you, to strengthen your faith in the Christ who is transfigured.

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Published in: on February 15, 2015 at 2:02 am  Leave a Comment  
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“The Vision and the Voice of the Transfiguration” (Luke 9:28-36)

The Transfiguration of Our Lord
Sunday, February 10, 2013

“The Vision and the Voice of the Transfiguration” (Luke 9:28-36)

Today is the Last Sunday after the Epiphany, the day we observe the Transfiguration of Our Lord. The Transfiguration is that event when our Lord Jesus Christ was transformed in his appearance. His glory was made manifest before he set out on his way to the cross. Thus the Transfiguration serves as a fitting bridge between Epiphany and Lent: It’s the climax of the Epiphany season, when Christ’s glory is manifested, and it sets the stage for the season of Lent, when Jesus heads to Jerusalem to suffer and die.

Our text today is the Holy Gospel, from Luke 9. In this text, we will encounter “The Vision and the Voice of the Transfiguration.”

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Published in: on February 9, 2013 at 8:21 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“The White Clothes of Jesus” (Mark 9:2-9)

The Transfiguration of Our Lord
Sunday, February 19, 2012

“The White Clothes of Jesus” (Mark 9:2-9)

Today on this last Sunday in the Epiphany season the church celebrates a great, pivotal event in the life and ministry of Jesus, namely, the Transfiguration of Our Lord. Jesus goes up on a high mountain, taking along with him his inner circle of disciples, Peter, James, and John. There he is transfigured before them, that is, his appearance changes, and his clothes become dazzling white. Two great figures from the Old Testament, Moses and Elijah, appear with Jesus and talk with him. The disciples don’t know what to make of all of this. Then a cloud comes, a voice comes from the cloud; it is the heavenly Father’s voice, saying, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.” The disciples look again, they no longer see Moses and Elijah, they see Jesus only. Those are the essentials of the Transfiguration account, as it occurs in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, the basic facts of the event being the same, but with each gospel writer highlighting this or that detail, or describing it in his own way.

There are so many things going on in this narrative, and with three gospels to work from, that a preacher could go for many years and focus his sermon on a different aspect each year. Today I want to focus on one point in particular, in verse 3, where it says, “and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them.” What is the significance of this bright white clothing, and what does it mean for us? Thus our theme this morning: “The White Clothes of Jesus.”

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Published in: on February 18, 2012 at 8:17 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Myth-Busters: Apostolic Witness and Prophetic Word” (2 Peter 1:16-21)

The Transfiguration of Our Lord
March 6, 2011

“Myth-Busters: Apostolic Witness and Prophetic Word” (2 Peter 1:16-21)

“Cleverly devised myths.” That’s what we Christians are accused of believing. All that stuff about Jesus Christ being the Son of God and the only Savior of the world? “Just a bunch of fables, fairy tales, myths.”

But then this is nothing new. Even back in the first century, Christians were ridiculed for believing the same thing, that they were falling for a bunch of poppycock, fables and fairy tales. St. Peter refers to this accusation in our epistle for today when he writes, “For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” And to counter that false accusation, Peter then will cite two testimonies that support the message about Christ. And they are the eyewitness testimony of the apostles and the Spirit-inspired testimony of the prophets in Holy Scripture. The Old Testament prophets and the New Testament apostles–these give us a firm foundation for our faith, and they bust wide open the accusation that we are following some “cleverly devised myths.” And so our theme for today, “Myth-Busters: Apostolic Witness and Prophetic Word.”

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Published in: on March 6, 2011 at 2:29 am  Leave a Comment  
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“The Transfiguration Prefigured: A Mountaintop Experience before the Exodus” (Luke 9:28-36)

The Transfiguration of Our Lord
Sunday, February 14, 2010

“The Transfiguration Prefigured: A Mountaintop Experience before the Exodus” (Luke 9:28-36)

Sometimes–oftentimes, in fact–the events in the gospels, the events in the life of Jesus, have precedents that occurred in the Old Testament. What I mean is, there were events in the history of Israel that set the stage for, set the pattern for, what Jesus would fulfill and accomplish in his life and ministry. Our gospel account for today is a good example. It is the story of Christ’s Transfiguration. You see, there were events in the Old Testament that prefigured this event, when Christ was transfigured. “The Transfiguration Prefigured” in the Old Testament–that’s what we’ll look at this morning. Now there are many parallels we could draw, but today we’ll zero in on this aspect: In the Transfiguration of Our Lord, just as there was at the time of Moses, there is “A Mountaintop Experience before the Exodus.” And the outcome, the result, has tremendous implications for you.

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Published in: on February 14, 2010 at 4:12 pm  Leave a Comment  
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