Faithlife Sermons

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One of my most favorite books, often considered to be a children’s book, is The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.
If you are not familiar with the book, it is an allegory about Jesus Christ.
In this story, four children accidentally step through a time portal and enter into an alternative universe named Narnia.
In this universe animals are able to talk, and actually live a human-like existence.
A beaver and his wife take the children into their home and they determine to bring them to Aslan, a lion who represents Jesus.
As they journey to meet Aslan one of the children asks Mr. Beaver if Aslan is safe.
The beaver laughed at the idea of a wild lion being safe.
He is the king of the forest.
He is sovereign in authority, majestic in glory, and extremely powerful.
He is definitely not safe.
But though he is not safe, yet he is very good!
I think that is a very fitting description of Jesus Christ, who is the King of kings, and the Lord of lords.
He is anything but safe.
As Paul wrote in
In our passage for this morning, , three of Jesus’ disciples were privileged to catch a glimpse of the majestic glory of Christ.
What they witnessed was not the meek and mild man they had come to know, but rather they beheld the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
As we contemplate this text this morning we will look at Christ in all His glory, the Old Testament witness regarding His glory, and the disciple’s misunderstanding of the event that was unfolding before their very eyes.
Let’s read our passage together.
The Setting
The Parallel with Moses’s Sinai Experience
Six days —
Three Witnesses —
High Mountain —
Glorious Appearance —
Overshadowing Cloud —
Voice from the Cloud —
The Inner Circle
Moses had three witnesses to his mountaintop experience:
Moses and Elijah both had mountaintop experiences with God
Christ in all His Glory
Various biblical authors have written about the glory of Christ.
One of my favorites is from the author of
Another was written by John in
These passages perhaps help us to envision what Peter, James, and John witnessed on this glorious occasion.
Look at verse 2 of our text.
“And He was transfigured before them.”
In other words their eyes saw the unveiling of Christ’s inherit glory.
No wonder our text tells us that they were terrified!
The word translated transfigured is the Greek term μεταμορφόω from which we get the English term metamorphosis.
Metamorphosis is the process through which a caterpillar becomes a butterfly.
It is also used to describe the process through which a tadpole becomes a frog.
Makes me think of the old children’s song, “Bull frogs and butterflies ...”
The English term transfigured gives the idea of something crossing over.
R.C. Sproul wrote:
“We might say Jesus crossed the line from the natural to the supernatural, from the human to the divine, as the cloak of humanity that veiled His true glory was removed and His glory became visible.”
With Jesus’ glory unveiled He would not have been seen merely as the meek and humble man that He was.
He would have been seen as the sovereign ruler of the universe.
The One who at the word of His command can pronounce judgement on those for whom judgement is due.
Though Jesus in His majestic glory is anything but safe, He is always good!
Let’s turn our attention briefly to the Old Testament witness.
The Old Testament Witness
Notice verse 3.
And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him.
Why Moses and Elijah?
If it were Enoch and Elijah we could say that it was those who had not died who came to meet with Jesus.
But the Scripture is very clear that Moses died, and God buried him in an unknown location.
Perhaps it had something to do with both Moses and Elijah having had mountaintop experiences with God.
But more than likely it is that they represent the Law and the Prophets, which is a biblical phrase that refers to the fulness of the OT witness.
Both the Law and the Prophets looked forward to the coming of Messiah.
Do you wonder what it was that they talked about?
If so, have no fear, Luke tell us.
They were talking with Him about His upcoming crucifixion.
Perhaps they were encouraging Him to stay the course.
Perhaps they were focusing on the marvelous plan of redemption that was about to be accomplished by His substitutionary death and subsequent resurrection.
We don’t really know what aspect of His death they were talking with Him about.
I suspect that there coming may have been more for the benefit of the disciples than for the benefit of Christ.
Let’s turn our attention now to the disciple’s misunderstanding.
The Disciple’s Misunderstanding
Look with me at verse 4. Have you ever been around someone who has to say something, even when they don’t have something to say?
I remember when I was taking a graduate class in music theory there was this young lady in the class who always had to inject herself into the discussion, even though she didn’t ever really have anything to say.
I think she though she would get a better grade in the class by doing so.
I think that is sort of the scenario for Peter in this passage.
At a loss for words, he felt he had to say something.
But, man, o man, what he said reflected his continued ignorance of who Jesus really was.
Peter’s Ignorant Zeal
Luke tells us:
Mark tells us:
A Lesson We Can Learn From Peter:
When you don’t know what to say, it is better to say nothing at all!
Possibly a reference to the Feast of Booths
Peter, perhaps unknowingly, made Moses and Elijah to be equal with Christ
I wonder how often, like Peter, I have brought Christ down to the level of man.
It is really easy to do.
When we try to explain to others who Christ, or any member of the Godhead is, we must be careful to NOT make them appear as mere mortals.
The writer of Hebrews tells us:
We have looked at Christ in all His glory, the Old Testament witness, and the disciples misunderstanding.
Let’s turn our attention now to the Father’s Correction.
The Father’s Correction
God the Father inserted Himself into this scene by offering words of exhortation to Peter, and his companions.
The Shekinah Glory
The Announcement
Reminiscent of the Baptism of Jesus
Emphasis on the word “this.”
Jesus is the beloved Son, not Moses; not Elijah.
The Exhortation
The exhortation that the Father gave to Peter is a very fitting exhortation for believers today.
Listen to Him!
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