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The Transfiguration sermon

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Sermon point: To show how the transfiguration established the superiority of Christ.  Sermon style: Biblical narrative

 

The Transfiguration

Mt. 17:1-13; Lk. 9: 28-36

 

Introduction

For the past number of weeks our Pastor led us up to a mount and we hear the first part of  the Sermon on the Mount, where we specifically stopped and pondered the Beatitudes found in Matthew 5. Today we will ascend another peak in the life and ministry of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We will ascend another mountain, and experience the Transfiguration of Christ. Upon this mountain, however, our Lord took with Him fewer people, said fewer words, but experienced an incredible change. It will be the last mountain top occurrence before His final climb to Golgotha.

(Transition)

The main lesson for today is this:

The Transfiguration is a supernatural event that communicates the supernatural approval of God upon His supernatural Son, which calls for a supernatural response.

Turn to the book of Matthew chapter 17: 1ff

 

Chapter 17

The Transfiguration

     1     Six days later Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them        up on a high mountain by themselves.

     2     And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light.

     3     And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him.

     4     Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, I will make three tabernacles here, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”

     5     While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!”

     6     When the disciples heard this, they fell face down to the ground and were terrified.

     7     And Jesus came to them and touched them and said, “Get up, and do not be afraid.”

     8     And lifting up their eyes, they saw no one except Jesus Himself alone.

     9     As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, “Tell the vision to no one until the Son of Man has risen from the dead.”

     10     And His disciples asked Him, “Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?”

     11     And He answered and said, “Elijah is coming and will restore all things;

     12     but I say to you that Elijah already came, and they did not recognize him, but did to him whatever they wished. So also the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.”

     13     Then the disciples understood that He had spoken to them about John the Baptist. [1]

       I.  The Transfiguration is a supernatural event (17:1-4)

          A. The transfiguration described

                   1. The context/background from Chapter 16

                             - Peter was told of his significant role, “upon this rock” in chapter 16

                             - Also in chapter 16, Christ unfolds to His disciples that he must go to                                          Jerusalem, where He must: suffer, die and rise from the dead

                              (Mt. 16:2-11)

                             - There is also a very interesting verse in 16:28 that refers to the idea of                               “some not tasting until they see the Son of Man coming in His                                            Kingdom”

                   2. The participants

                             - Imagine being asked to go on a hike with Jesus.

                             - The multitudes were not asked to go.

                             - The twelve disciples were not asked to go.

                             - Only three were invited, the inner three. Imagine.

                             - Peter, James and John were summoned.

                             - This speaks to something; I think it speaks to the significance of                                         the occasion.

                             - Imagine the atmosphere of this climb

                   3. The climb

                             - Some think this is Mt. Tamor, but there is also the possibly of Mt.                                  Hermon located near Caesarea, Phillipi (Mt. 16:13), which is a large                                   mountain range, and this location would support the text "high                                          mountain" (17:1).

                             - A high mountain for a calling  

                   4. The event

                             - Christ, Peter, James and John reach their destiny. According to Luke                              they went up the mountain to pray, and as in other occasions, the                                      Disciples fell asleep (Lk. 9:32), and then they are awakened to an                                       incredible event.

                   5. The word

                             - μεταμορφόω [metamorphoo /met·am·or·fo·o/] we get metamorphosis

                                      - to change into another form, to transform, to transfigure. [2]

                            

                   6. The example of the monarch butterfly (children's bulletin)

                             - A caterpillar forms a chrysalis (two weeks) and then into a butterfly.

                  

                   5. The imagery—just imagine (17:2)

                             - Christ is transformed (face and clothing)—listen to the accounts.

                                      - "His face shone like the sun" Mt. 17:2.

                                      - "His face became different" Lk. 9:29.

                                      - "His garments became as white as light" Mt. 17:2.

                                      - "His garments became radiant and exceedingly white, as no                                               launderer on earth can whiten them" Mk. 9:3.

                                      - "His clothing became white and gleaming" Lk. 9:29.

                             - Indeed, something significant has occurred.

                             - In short, His outward appearance became an expression of the                              inward reality of his deity and majesty that heretofore was not                                  expressed.

                             - We find this idea in II Peter 1:19 and Rev. 21:23

                            

Transition:

The transfiguration is incredible, but it is only the beginning.

If Christ's change of appearance wasn't enough,

two visitors appear that add even more drama to the occasion.

          B. The visitors appear

                   1. The appearance of Moses and Elijah. Note the use of BEHOLD

                   2. Why were they there? and what did they say?

                             - Matthew and Mark tell us that they were talking to Him, but Luke                                      adds some detail when he says they spoke about "His departure which                              He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem" (Lk. 9:31).

                   3. What is the point? It seems that these two spiritual pillars in Old Testament                        history came on the scene at this precise moment and supernaturally                                 signified the superiority of Jesus Christ. They understood His pre-                                       eminence.

                  

          C. The response of Peter (Mt. 17:4; Mk. 9:5; Lk. 9:32, 33)

                   1. Notice his response.

                   “Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, I will                        make three tabernacles here, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for                        Elijah” (17:4).

                   2. What do you think about Peter's response?

                   3. What would you have done or said?

                   4. It seems that he was off on his response, for Mark tells us that, “[f]or he did                  not know what to answer; for they became terrified” (Mk. 9:6), and Luke                           writes, “not realizing what he was saying” (Lk. 9:33).

                   5. I think a point that can be made is that the event was so big that Peter was                     dumbfounded and I think he could not really understand what was taking                           place. WHAT DID IT ALL MEAN???

 

(Transition)

We noticed first that the Transfiguration is a supernatural event,

but now we want to see that the Transfiguration communicates

the supernatural approval of God upon His supernatural Son

 

II. The Transfiguration communicates the supernatural approval of God                                 upon His supernatural Son (17:5) Read the verse:

"While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud"

 

          A. The cloud appears establishing an important event

                    1. Typically, in our lives when there are clouds around that usually means a                        gloomy, down kind of day, but not so in the Scriptures. Just think about some                  of the cloud events in the Bible.

                   2. Cloud events (Ex. 19: 16-19; Ezk. 10: 3-5)

                   3. Again, our attentions must be drawn to something significant here.   

          B. The voice speaks establishing an important statement

                   God the Father interrupts Peter!!! BEHOLD!!!

           “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased. . ." (Mt. 17:5)

                   1. "This is my son"

                   2. "In whom I am well pleased"

                   3. This is the same statement that the Father made at the beginning of Christ’s                        ministry (Mt. 5:17) on the earth and now he makes it again.

                   4. Implications

                             a. Christ is superior to all other Biblical leaders that came before Him.                      b. Christ superiority is established above Moses and Elijah who                                             represent the Law (Moses) and the Prophets (Elijah).

                   “The best of men are only men at their very best” (J.C. Ryle on Mt. 17)

                             c. Christ is the culmination of all things:

                             Hebrews 1:1-4

                             1 God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many                               portions and in many ways,

                             2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed                               heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.

                             3 And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of                                His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He                              had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the                                    Majesty on high,

                             4 having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a                               more excellent name than they (Heb 1:1-4).

                             d. Indeed, Grace through Christ supersedes the Law and the prophets.

                             Alfred Erdesheim writes, ". . .Jesus was the Very Christ of God, the                                 fulfillment of all Old Testament prophecy, the heir of Old                                        Testament promise, the realisation of the Old Testament hope for                                      Israel, and, in Israel, for all mankind. Without this confession,                                         Christians might have been a Jewish sect, a religious party, or a                               school of thought, and Jesus a Teacher, Rabbi, Reformer, or                                    Leader of men."

                   4. God the Father is very pleased with His Son, and as such will                                            accept His perfect sacrifice for the sins of His people, for you and I and                           everyone else that will come to know Him as Lord and Savior.

                  

Transition

The Transfiguration is not only a supernatural event that communicates the supernatural approval of God upon His supernatural Son,

but it also calls for a supernatural response.

 

III. The Transfiguration calls for a supernatural response (17:6-9)

          A. Listen to Him!

                   1. The charge could not be any clearer

                   2. Definition of the word

         

          B. We must be transfigured before God

                   1. We must be reconfigured before God (justification). Like the monarch we                     must go from a worm to a butterfly. We must be changed from a sinner to a                      saint, from darkness to light, from an unrighteousness to a righteousness.

                   2. Have you heard the voice of God? Have you seen the face of Jesus? Or are                       you still under Moses and the slavish demands of the Law?

                   3. This reconfiguring, transformation must continue and in the Christian                             world we call this sanctification.

SPECIAL NOTE ON THE WORD TRANSFIGURATION:

Romans 12: 1-2

1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.

2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect (Rom. 12:1-2).

 

 

 

II Corinthians 3:18

18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.

We must respond and people need to see it!!!

                  

          C. We must be transfigured before men

                   1. We must be changing before men

                   2. What part of your life needs the most transfiguration (change)?                                               - Be specific

                   3. We must demonstrate a willingness to change

                   4. What steps do you plan to take in order to make the appropriate spiritual                           changes in your life?

                             - ask your wife and your children

                   5. We must celebrate movement toward righteousness

                             - where would a co-worker, family member or fellow Christian see the                        most change in the past six months?

          D. We must also remember the Transfiguration and take heart from it, just like the                   Disciples did. They would never forget the incredible event on the mountain.

          E. We must also remember that Christ is who He said He is, and that He has the full               approval and authority from the Father. Indeed, we like Peter have received a                         glimpse of the Majesty of Jesus (II Pet. 1:16-19)

          F. We must also remember that we need not be afraid, for the Lord Jesus not only                 provides the example, but he gives us comfort. See His care of the disciples,

Mt. 17: 6-8

     6     When the disciples heard this, they fell face down to the ground and were terrified.

     7     And Jesus came to them and touched them and said, “Get up, and do not be afraid.”

     8     And lifting up their eyes, they saw no one except Jesus Himself alone.

Conclusion

You need a supernatural glimpse of the splendor of Jesus, and you must understand His supernatural superiority and authority. You must hear and respond to the plea of the Father. You must first fall down and fear God before you can get up and serve God.

The Transfiguration is a supernatural event that communicates the supernatural approval of God upon His supernatural Son, which calls for a supernatural response.

"This is my beloved Son, My Chosen One; Listen to Him."

Let us pray

 

Closing hymn

 

Benediction

 


----

 

[1]New American Standard Bible : 1995 Update (LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995). Mt 17:1-13

.

[2]James Strong, The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible : Showing Every Word of the Text of the Common English Version of the Canonical Books, and Every Occurrence of Each Word in Regular Order., electronic ed. (Ontario: Woodside Bible Fellowship., 1996). G3339

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