March 14, 2022

NO clue

NO clue

When asked, "Who do you say I am?" Peter is able to correctly answer, "You are the Christ." However, does Peter or the other disciples truly understand what that means?

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**not a word for word transcript, but the sermon manuscript**




With this being the second Sunday of Lent, we are going to continue our journey of Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection. Lent is the time of year we often reflect on Christ’s death and resurrection by denying ourselves something. Not as a religious show, but as a way to deny ourselves in the same manner our Savior did for us.


Before we get into our passage for today, I wanted to share the background leading into this event. Jesus had asked his disciples who the crowds said he was. All those answers were wrong. But Jesus asked Peter, he answered, “God’s Messiah.” The correct answer. However, in this event Peter and two other disciples reveal the limits of that understanding.


READING THE TEXT: Luke 9:28-36


28 About eight days after this conversation, Jesus took along Peter, John, and James and went up on the mountain to pray. 29 As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. 30 Suddenly, two men were talking with him—Moses and Elijah. 31 They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish in Jerusalem. 32 Peter and those with him were in a deep sleep, and when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men who were standing with him. 33 As the two men were departing from him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us set up three shelters: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah—not knowing what he was saying. 34 While he was saying this, a cloud appeared and overshadowed them. They became afraid as they entered the cloud. 35 Then a voice came from the cloud, saying: “This is my Son, the Chosen One; listen to him!” 36 After the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. They kept silent, and at that time told no one what they had seen. (CSB)


This is the Word of God, for the people of God, thanks be to God.




*** Key verse ***


Peter, John, and James are the only three disciples to witness this event known as the Transfiguration. It is an event recorded in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, with only some minor details making them different from one another. But all of them record Peter offering to build shelters, with Mark and Luke both recording that the disciple had no idea what he was saying. Before we can see why that is important for us, we need to know what Peter, John, and James witnessed.


** While praying ***


A week after the conversation about Jesus being the Christ, and an explanation of what that meant, is when the Transfiguration takes place. Jesus took Peter, John, and James up on a mountain to pray. Prayer is the catalyst for this entire event. A divine encounter started with the same action available to every person, prayer.


Verse 29 says, “As Jesus was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white.” The word “changed” here can be used to describe the switch from one day to the next. Jesus’s face changed like one day from the next. In Jewish tradition, this description fits one who has experienced the presence of God.


***While talking***


Not only was Jesus’s face changed, but two men appeared. These were not two random men, but Moses and Elijah. Moses that led God’s people out of Egypt, and Elijah who led God’s people out of idol worship. Much has been made by scholars and theologians about why Moses and Elijah were there. Both had mysterious ends, Moses being buried by God and Elijah being taken without dying by God. Some believe in this moment they represent the Law and the prophets in subordination Jesus. Others view Moses as the past and Elijah as futuristic figure of the end times, making them the past and the future subordinate to the Alpha and Omega. To be honest, no one really has a clue.


What we do know is what Jesus, Moses, and Elijah were discussing. Verse 31 says, “They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish in Jerusalem.” “Accomplish” is a verb meaning to achieve or complete. Jesus, Moses, and Elijah were discussing the goal for the Messiah coming. That goal was Jesus’s departure, or literally his “exodus.” Nazarene theologian, Reuben Welch wrote, “The talk on the mountain was about His death, but all the while the glory of God was shining through in promise of the power of the Resurrection.”



*** What did the disciples see? ***


What were Peter, John, and James doing during this event? At first, they were sleeping. All three of the Synoptic Gospels share that fact. And then they wake up, they are clueless to what is happening. Peter speaks, but verse 33 says, “ “Let us set up three shelters: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah”—not knowing what he was saying.” He saw Moses and Elijah talking with Jesus, but had no clue what the event meant. The disciples quickly recognized the cloud in verse 34 as the glory of God, but the only thing they knew in that moment was that they were afraid.


But in that fear, the voice of God spoke to Peter, John, and James. God said to them, “This is my Son, the Chosen One; listen to him!” (Luke 9:35) The command was for the disciples to center their attention on Jesus, not the Law or the prophets, but the One who was and is the fulfillment of both. And these three listened to God’s voice. While John does not record the Transfiguration in His gospel, in John 1:14 he wrote, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We observed his glory, the glory as the one and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John remembered the glory that appeared on the transfigured face of Jesus. Peter remembered too, writing “For we did not follow cleverly contrived myths when we make known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ; instead we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he receive honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased!” (2 Peter 1:16-17)


*** What do we need to know? ***


The voice of God was calling Peter, John, and James not to understand all the theological implications of the Christ, God was calling them to know Jesus. To have faith in Jesus is to focus on Him, a person. God is calling you and me to focus on this same Jesus.


In 2 Corinthians 3:18, the Apostle Paul wrote, “We all, with unveiled faces, are looking as in a mirror at the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit.” This is the result of us focusing on Jesus, being transformed into little Christs. But do you remember when Paul encountered Jesus for the first time? Paul could hear the voice of Jesus, but the light was so bright he could not see. To focus on Jesus is to focus on the Light of the World. Light is bright, though you can hear, your eyes cannot see because the intensity of the light. Since you cannot see clearly, you cannot fully comprehend what you hear and feel.


Ultimately, the call to focus on Jesus is faith based on knowing Him, and that is enough for salvation. You and I do not have to fully understand what that means, and Jesus will accept us as his disciple, even with all our confusion on what that means. God knows we have from now to eternity to grow in our understanding, but that only begins when we chose to center our focus on Jesus.




Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 6:16, “God alone is immortal and lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see, to him be honor and eternal power.” If you and I focus on Jesus, through Him we approach the God in unapproachable light. Do worry about your confusion or having to have it all figured here and now, Jesus wants you to come to Him so He can lead you into understanding.