Faithlife Sermons

The Transfiguration

Ro 8:14-17  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 4 views

Three gifts the transfiguration of Christ brought us

Notes & Transcripts
Sermon Tone Analysis
A
D
F
J
S
Emotion
A
C
T
Language
O
C
E
A
E
Social
View more →
Series
Romans 8:14–17 NIV
For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

Main Text
Mark 8:27–9:13 NIV
Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.” Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him. He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.” And he said to them, “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.” After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, 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 to say, they were so frightened.) Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!” Suddenly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus. As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus gave them orders not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead. They kept the matter to themselves, discussing what “rising from the dead” meant. And they asked him, “Why do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?” Jesus replied, “To be sure, Elijah does come first, and restores all things. Why then is it written that the Son of Man must suffer much and be rejected? But I tell you, Elijah has come, and they have done to him everything they wished, just as it is written about him.”
[Scripture Introduction]
Today we want to move from looking into the subject of God the Father into God the Son, in preparation for the coming series on #RememberingChrist leading to Easter. For that purpose, we will be looking into “The Transfiguration.”
The word “transfiguration” could be a mouthful, but it’s really a struggle to translate into English to a more layman word. The root “μεταμορφόω” literally means transform, transfigure, or a change of appearance from inside out (as MSG says).
We often hear about this story in the gospel, but have you ever wondered why is there a need for a “private retreat” that Jesus brought his disciples to this somewhat “cryptic” journey up and down the mountain, which they are supposed to keep it secret what they encountered until the resurrection? Today’s message will help us understand how this story brings us gifts as heirs of God, as we journey on to Easter, and as we face our everyday living. [creating a hook]
[Prayer for illumination] Pray with me.
[Introduction]
I recall the first time when we found out that my wife, Wendy was pregnant with our firstborn in 2013, we were so excited. We started talking about the gender: Would it be a boy or a girl? In our minds (not sure if that’s typically Chinese), we wished our first child was a boy, we started thinking of a boy’s name, we even looked at the tummy shape and convinced ourselves that…Oh it must be a boy! But the 2nd trimester arrived, doctor told us from several scans that most probably is a girl, because there was no sign of a male child. And so, we started to sit with and take in the news. Our expectations had to be shifted. We started preparing ourselves to welcome the arrival of our baby girl, Elize.
Now how many of us are familiar with that kind of situation or feeling, whereby a certain expectation had to be adjusted or even crushed, and we find it rather challenging to accept Plan B because Plan A meant so much to us? And we often question God WHY? [FCF]
It was the same for Peter and the disciples. Peter has just had that “eureka” moment of confessing Jesus as the Messiah! It was that moment they thought they had just “leveled up.” And just like a school teacher starting a new chapter, Jesus taught them a new lesson, except… the new lesson wasn’t just that there might be danger ahead; the new lesson was that Jesus had to walk straight into danger.
Mk 8:31
(NIV)
Mark 8:31 NIV
He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again.
It wasn’t 50-50, it was a confirmed death! Definitely, this wasn’t what Peter and the rest had in mind. They may not have thought of Jesus as a military leader, but they certainly didn’t think of him heading straight to his death. It was at this point that the 3 disciples followed Jesus up to the Mount of Transfiguration. But what is it for? [Scripture bond]
It wasn’t 50-50, it was a confirmed death! It was as if Liverpool captain telling the team that he intended to let ManU score 10 goals right away. Or vice versa. This wasn’t what Peter and the rest had in mind. They may not have thought of Jesus as a military leader, but they certainly didn’t think of him heading straight to his death. It was at this point that the 3 disciples followed Jesus up to the Mount of Transfiguration. But why? [Scripture bond]
You see [Proposition]
The transfiguration of Christ centred around his passion (=suffering) and his resurrection brings us gifts to live as heirs of God. So let’s allow the transfiguration of Christ to help us see his glory, to hear his voice and to live his life.
[Main Point 1]
The transfiguration of Christ helps us SEE HIS GLORY.
The disciples’ expectation about their Master has just been shattered when Jesus talked about his passion. Maybe they were confused, frustrated and perhaps thinking about giving up. But at the Transfiguration, they saw the full extent of Jesus’ glory, that brings them a revelation of who Jesus really is, a reflection of how they have misunderstood him, and a rededication of their lives to follow him, however limited their minds were able to grasp. Let me unpack a little.
[Subpoint 1]
Why do we need to see his glory? Because it gives us a revelation of who Jesus really is.
If you were the disciples, who would you say Jesus is? Up to this point, the best answer given by Peter was “You are the Messiah.” But it is one thing to give the correct answer, it is quite another to have the right understanding in mind. 10 years ago, apple is a fruit. 10 years later, apple can be a device! Cool (He’s so cool!) can mean hot, hot can mean cool. Sick (This is so sick, man!) can mean not sick, not sick can mean quite sick.
Mark wrote that…
Mark 9:2–4 NIV
After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus.
2 After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. 3 His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. 4 And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus.
Just as Moses brought his closest assistant, Joshua up to Mount Sinai, and after 6 days God called Moses into the clouds to give him the 10 Commandments (), here 6 days later, Jesus also led his 3 closest disciples up on the high mountain to show them a new perspective—his divine form. This could not be a coincidence.
If Moses was the receiver of the old covenant at the formation of a new nation, called Israel, then Jesus is now the giver of the New Covenant at the formation of a new community of faith/a new Israel, called the Church.
So who is Jesus? Jesus is “the Messiah, the Son of God” () As the Messiah, he is God’s Chosen One to establish the kingdom of God. And as the Son of God, he is God’s only Son, who has now come to offer himself gladly and willingly to be sacrificed, for the sins of mankind.
Friends, the kingdom of God opens its chapter with the necessary removal of our sins through the death of Jesus Christ, the Son of God! Contrary to what most people think, God is not the great superhero Messiah who comes to kick off the evil villains to save the few, he is the Suffering Messiah who comes to die for his own creation, to save them all!
[Subpoint 2]
That deserves a reflection from the world—what have we been thinking? Peter was so concerned about following the right guy so that he can be his right-hand man! That is why when Jesus predicted about his death and suffering…He said, “Choi!!! So not auspicious to talk about dying at this festive season! Jesus you are the Messiah! The Messiah doesn’t do dying and suffering. The Messiah is supposed to kick out the Romans, silence them and show them who’s the real boss here!” Jesus turned and looked at all his puzzled disciples and said, “Get behind me, Satan! You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” ()
So often we approach God with our certain expectation, but when our expectations are shaken, we become upset with God…But hey, it’s not about us, or how/what we want Jesus to do! It’s the opposite!
Eugene Peterson paraphrased one of Jesus’ words as this, “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat.(, MSG) So get back to your own seats and let the driver takes you.
[Subpoint 3]
When we see the glory of Jesus, we can press on in rededication of our motives to him.
You see, sometimes God has to bring us higher, in order to see things clearer. We often hear this in our church lingo “let us encounter God in worship/in prayer/in the word.” Why do we need that? Not so that we feel more “levelled up” spiritually. It’s so that we can trust him fuller + follow him tighter! It’s to become more dedicated to Jesus.
[Illustration]
René Daumal once wrote about mountain-climbing:
“You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down again. So why bother in the first place? Just this: What is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above. One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen. There is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up. When one can no longer see, one can at least still know.”
My daughter is 4 years old now, we are so thankful to God for her. Ok I admit I was kind of “disappointed” back then with my stupid expectation, but now it brings us far greater joy to see her growing up. She is a helpful elder sister, and I think to a certain extent, having a daughter softens the daddy’s heart a lot, which is helpful for me.
[Application]
Some of you have little dreams and goals that you hope that God can bring to pass, especially the year has just “officially” started! Some of you even expect God to give you your wishes, after you have done something that seems to reasonably “qualify” you. But when that doesn’t turn out, you become disappointed, maybe disillusioned, your faith stagnates, it’s kind of like “once bitten twice shy.” Today you need to see Jesus’ glory once again. It’s not about you, it’s about Jesus.
This coming month leading up to Easter, how do we start the year right? How do we live as heirs of God? Many people start the year with great goals and visions. But perhaps just like the disciples and I, we might need shift away from our expectations, to come away to our “mountains of transfiguration” with Jesus, so that we can see him as he is—the Revelation of all revelations—God himself, and prayerfully reflect on how we can rededicate our lives back to Christ. Remember, Christ at the core, go to the Big Guy. The transfiguration of Christ brings us to SEE HIS GLORY.
[Main Point 2]
The transfiguration of Christ also helps us HEAR HIS VOICE.
Mark wrote that while Jesus was transfigured, there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus. This also means Jesus is the perfect fulfilment and culmination of all the OT Law and prophecies. Peter, still dumbfounded and extremely afraid, blurted out something, Mark says, for lack of better gap-fillers, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.() Maybe because he was thinking about the tabernacle in the OT that housed the presence of God. But Moses and Elijah are not divine beings! They paled by comparison to Jesus, the Son of God. That’s the reason why…Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!” ()
Mark 9:7 NIV
Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!”
Mark 9:5 NIV
Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”
Very often, we too are like Peter, we say things that we didn’t mean it. But all is required is to listen to Jesus. The word “listen” here is not just to take in whatever sound Jesus makes, but it is to listen in such a way that you take heed, understand and obey what he said. So, what was Jesus proclaiming that we must listen to? Right from the start, Mark wrote that:
(ESV)
Mark 1:14–15 ESV
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
…Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
What is the gospel? Mark writes that the gospel of Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, is about how through his passion and resurrection, the kingdom of God has come!
[Subpoint 1]
2 times Jesus talked about his passion, his death, as a result of false accusation that eventually will get him killed on the cross. Before going up the mountain, he said it once; coming down the mountain, once. It means his transfiguration must not be understood apart from his death and suffering, even though in this part of the world we try to avoid talking about death.
About 600-700 years before Jesus came, Isaiah prophesied about the Suffering Servant of the Lord, that “though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life an offering for sin…” ()
Isaiah 53:9b–10a NIV
He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.
Have you ever wondered, why must it be “suffering?” Why can’t God just pardon human sins? [RUMA] You see, for God to be God, he has to be the greatest, not just in reality but also the greatest that we can envision. God has to be conceptually the greatest being. If we come up with a definition of someone who is absolutely “just,” that would mean a judge who punishes every single crime, making sure that everything is paid for. But he wouldn’t be merciful at all. If we picture a judge who is completely merciful and forgives everyone their crimes, he might be absolutely merciful, but not absolutely just. He has to overlook all these crimes. The difficulty in reconciling all these is: if God is absolutely merciful and absolutely just, how can he forgive everyone and punish every crime at the same time? Most religions don’t have an answer to that. But Christianity says, every single crime has been paid for because God took it upon himself, and everyone has been given mercy because he is offering everyone mercy through a relationship with him. [Ground Zero Series]
[Subpoint 2]
What about resurrection?
To the Jews, they think that “the resurrection” only happens to all the righteous at the end of time. Therefore, there is no way any single person can rise from the dead ahead of everybody else. That’s why when they were coming down the mountain, when Jesus charged the disciples to keep it to themselves first. “Wait till you see my resurrection!” And that sparks off discussions among the disciples about what this means. Do you know why?
Because his transfiguration/his glory can only be understood entirely, correctly when you have his passion and his resurrection.
My friends, sometimes Christians just take Jesus’ death and resurrection as a head knowledge. We think that “Oh well, after all Jesus is God, he is powerful enough to do anything he wants!” We hardly pause and think, “Why would he have to take the trouble to be born as a baby, grow up and die and resurrect to give us salvation? What took him so long to come to earth? Why can’t he just appear in heaven and just tell us to stop sinning or else we will burn in hell?”
You see, we are all like Peter and the disciples, our mind can only contain human concerns, but that’s not how God sees things.
Remember what Pastor taught us about God the Father? This is not a God who created the world, steps back and watch how we fare or fail in life. The Christian faith tells us, that God knowing that we were not able to save ourselves, was willing to step into this world. But how did he do that?
Show them great power? He did, but did they believe? No! They were stubborn.
Send them prophets to warn them? Did it help? No! They persecuted them + killed them.
Be extremely patient with them and let them turn back to you? He did! Still the people rejected God further and further.
Finally, he rolled up his sleeves, steps off his throne, and says to the angels who worship him constantly in his majesty, “I am coming into this world as a one of them.”
Can you imagine? The Creator of the universe!? But he chose to step into this world as a helpless baby, born to two children who have just been accused of an illegitimate relationship. The moment Joseph abandoned Mary, everybody would be saying, “Aha! You were pregnant before you got married!” So from then, Jesus was born as an illegitimate child in those kind of society back then. As he grew, he lived as a carpenter—working a blue collar labour in blood and sweat and tears. Hey! This is the God of the universe!! And then came these 12 unpromising disciples, whom he spent time pouring his life into them, teaching them about the kingdom, knowing that he would be betrayed by them! And then he would be flogged, suffered and crucified. The Cross is the most painful, humiliating way to die ever devised in human history.
One Roman statesman, Cicero, tells us that people’s skins were hanging on their body like ribbons, their intestines would have fallen out just from the flogging process. That they would be strapped to a splintered piece of wood, for every single breath they took, they would be scraping their skinless back on that wood.
The Creator of the universe did that for us! This is the Christian message. That is why if you have gone through suffering, or are going through certain struggle, pain, sicknesses, addiction, depression, basically the SICKFULNESS of human living! Or even if you were born in an illegitimate family, God loves you enough to identify with you and to take your burden upon himself. ALL BECAUSE HE LOVES YOU relentlessly, my friends!
So, stop taking the death and resurrection of Jesus for granted! Because that’s the message of the gospel, that ushers in…[Subpoint 3] the kingdom of God!
(NIV)the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
The kingdom of God is where God’s will is carried out. It means the life that is ruled by God, individually, that eventually forms the community of the same faith governed by the same God. And through that individual/community flows the values of God that touch all other parts of the world—our family, our friends, our society, our country and beyond. Before his transfiguration, Jesus said that the kingdom of God will come with power. Today the kingdom of God has come with power with his passion and his resurrection 2000 years ago. And the kingdom of God still comes with power through the Church and will come in full power as we look forward for his Second Coming. That’s why Christians are told to look towards the return of the Lord with hope. That is why even though it is not something we look forward to face, physical death is described as, “To live is Christ and to die is gain.” () Every death in Christ is not the end, there will be a glorious resurrection. [RUMA]
[Illustration]
Nabeel Qureshi, is one of the most outstanding Christian apologetists ever lived in our modern age. You can read more about him on the internet. He recalled his journey of coming to Jesus from his previous faith. He said, “Coming to Jesus was more than a call to prayer, it was a call to die.” It meant betrayal to his family. It was hurtful to see how that decision hurt his family so much. His mother totally felt ingratitude from his son. His father a veteran army man broke down in tears for the first time. Nabeel went on to study Christian apologetics, got 3 Master degrees before he got a PhD from Oxford University, and published several books that became bestsellers. Few years later, he was diagnosed with stomach cancer. The same year, his wife suffered a miscarriage. The following year Nabeel announced that the radiotherapy didn’t work, and doctors decided to put him on palliative care, where there was no more medicine provided for him. On Saturday, September 16, 2017, Nabeel Qureshi, age 34, entered into the joy of his master, Jesus Christ, after enduring a yearlong battle with cancer.
Was it worth Nabeel to listen to Jesus to follow him? To that question, this was how he would respond:
Jesus is the God of reversal and redemption. He redeemed sinners to life by his death, and he redeemed a symbol of execution [that is, the Cross] by repurposing it for salvation. He redeemed my suffering by making me rely upon him for my every moment, bending my heart toward him. It was there in my pain that I knew him intimately. He reached me through [my] investigations [about him], dreams, and visions, and called me to prayer in my suffering. It was there that I found Jesus. To follow him is worth giving up everything.
[Application]
Friends, that was Nabeel Qureshi’s Mount of Transfiguration as he came to listen to Jesus. Today if you are a young person, you are pursuing your studies or maybe you are a young working adult, it is so common for us to bump into some hurdles in life—be it Boy-Girl Relationship, exam stress, work stress, financial difficulty, addiction, depression, some bottleneck in your assignments, your bidding of project, your closing of deals… Maybe some of you may be worrying about your health, your family relationships, your marriage…And yet, sometimes you wonder why Jesus seems to be so far away when I needed him the most?
My friends, maybe it’s not that he is far away from your dreams, maybe it is you who has gone far away from him because of your dream. Today, would you let Jesus lead you to your own mount of transfiguration, that you may see his glory, and hear his voice? “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!”
[Main Point 3]
Finally, the transfiguration of Christ helps us LIVE HIS LIFE.
If we were to trace exactly what happened before Jesus brought his disciples up to the Mount of Transfiguration, it would be the confusion his disciples had.
(NIV)
Mark 8:34–38 NIV
Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”
34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? 37 Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”
[Subpoint 1]
How well we live the life of Jesus determines how well we become his disciples. Jesus says, “Whoever wants to be my disciples must deny themselves…” What does that mean? It doesn’t mean you psycho yourself and let your brain to be controlled by some unseen voices or forces!
It means giving up your own idea about God and your agenda. Let Jesus be your Lord. Why? Because at the Transfiguration, we saw that he is not just a human leader, he is the Messiah, the Son of God! If God is absolutely right to be God, then he must not have any rival in our lives. That’s the reason why when Peter tried to stop Jesus from going to the Cross, Jesus rebuked him and said, “Get behind me, Satan!” Because God wants to love us, and even though God won’t override our decision, to stop his plan from loving us is to tell him stop being God!
[Subpoint 2]
What else about living his life? “Whoever wants to be my disciples must…take up their cross”
This definitely doesn’t mean go hang yourself on a cross, or wear a cross, or get a cross tattoo! Remember, the cross was the most inhumane punishment device. “Take up your cross” means that, to become a disciple of Jesus is to share in his suffering. It means sometimes because we follow Jesus, we might experience suffering, challenges, ridicule, pain, and even the risk of losing our lives! And I’m not just talking about martyrdom.
What do I mean by that? How about because you are a Christian, sometimes you had to give up taking revenge on someone who hurts you, you have to still forgive? And by that I don’t mean letting people walk over you like a doormat. How about because you are a Christian, you get more looked down at when your life or family doesn’t seem to be at in the promising side? By that I don’t mean lazy and slack. How about after you decide to stay more committed to God, bad things happen to you one after another, and voices of doubts and ridicule and accusation start to play in your mind? Will you give up on Jesus and disbelieve him, even when your circumstance is not smooth-sailing? Will you lose faith on Jesus when your condition prolongs or even worsens? When your faith is put under pressure, will you become a diamond or a lemon? We will become lemon, if we don’t understand the extent of the gospel, and if we don’t prepare ourselves when things are doing ok.
Jesus said, “But whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.” Why do we still have to go through suffering after we become Christians? It is because we live in a broken-down world. But even in the midst of suffering and trials, God can turn our trials into our testimony, our passion into our resurrection, that in the end of the worst adversity, the final victory and dazzling white glory belongs to God. And we see that at the Cross. We see at in the book of Revelation. We see that all throughout Church History.
[Subpoint 3]
“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”
Paul says, “Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heir with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” ()
Romans 8:17 NIV
Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
Romans 8:17 ESV
and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
Following Jesus means living his same life.
[Illustration]
Billy Graham, one of the greatest evangelist America has ever seen, at age 29 became the youngest university president in America. 2 years later when he just began his evangelistic ministry, he was asked to speak at Forest Home campsite for a huge conference. It was at that time he faced one of the defining moments of his faith. As a young preacher, Billy Graham came to a point where he was grappling for weeks with the question of whether the Bible is fully reliable and free from contradictions or not. Actually, that was a widespread issue in the 20th century, western Christianity was challenged vehemently by liberalism. He was wrestling with lots and lots of doubts inside his head, he suffered questions after questions shooting at him left, right and center. “What if all you preached about was not true?” “What if Jesus is not real?” …Until he was able to pray and said, “God, I cannot prove many things. I cannot answer some of the question my friends are asking. Yet, here and now I am ready to accept the Bible as the Word of God, by faith.” The end of man is often the start of God. From that point onwards, a deep sense of conviction came back to him. He did not just know Jesus in the head, he see Jesus as who he is, he listens to his voice, and he decides to live his life and follow him. Billy Graham left his “Mount of Transfiguration” called “Forest Home campsite” to preach at the LA Evangelistic Meeting. It was supposed to run for 3 weeks, but because tens of thousands of people kept coming back, they ran for a total of 9 weeks, seeing more than 300,000 people hearing the gospel of Christ.
All because he was willing to deny himself, take up his cross and follow Jesus when didn’t know what to do, all the way for almost 70 years, until he went home to be with the Lord on Feb 21 this week at age 99.
Billy Graham once wrote: Some day you’ll read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it! I shall be more alive than I am right now. I’d just have changed my address. I’d have gone into the presence of God.
[Application]
He was transfigured. His clothes became dazzling white. “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!”
The transfiguration of Christ centred around his passion and his resurrection brings us gifts to live as heirs of God—to see his glory, to hear his voice, and to live his life.
[Altar Call]
What about you today my friends? Do you have certain expectation about God that didn’t turn out the way you wanted it? Are you so fearful like the disciples that they don’t know how to react to circumstances? What if your suffering prolongs? What if your prayer seems to don’t receive an answer? What if your breakthrough seems to tarry, but bad news are increasing? Will you come with Jesus to the Mount of Transfiguration and let him show you who he is again? Will you listen to what he said and hold on to his words in hope? Will you deny your own idea, give him the driver’s seat, and if you must, take up your cross and still follow him?
Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heir with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” ()
Romans 8:17 NIV
Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
Related Media
Related Sermons