Last week we saw that
· Jesus is the image of the Father
· Created in the image of God
· We are marred by sin, but forgiven by Jesus
· And in today’s reading we see the transfiguration of Jesus
· And we are being transformed to become more like him
Transformed or Transfigured
· The word in the Greek is ‘metamorphose’
· From which we get metamorphosis
· A change of form
· Caterpillars / tadpoles / Mayfly / Children’s transformers.
In our reading Mark tells us:
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. Mark 9:2
Jesus went up the mountain with 3 disciples, leaving the other 9 at the foot of the mountain, in the valley, where they faced their own challenge with an epileptic boy.
While, on the mountain, we are told, Jesus was transfigured before them, his face changed,and his clothes became dazzling white,
brighter than anyone could bleach them.
After this Luke tells us (Luke 9:51)
Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem…
The transfiguration was the turning point in Jesus’ ministry
· The end of his ministry in Galilee
· Preparation for his journey to Calvary
A journey for which Moses and Elijah prepared him on the mountain,
and before which God revealed his glory;
a reminder of the glory he had left behind when he was born,
and also of the glory he would again take up at his ascension.
And then Jesus came down off the mountain to the valley below and headed off to the suffering that would be his in Jerusalem.
Mountain top experiences are great, but you can’t live there,
there are also valleys to walk in.
There is Gethsemane and Calvary but there is also resurrection, and the glory to come.
Life goes on with its mountain tops and valleys,
and God is there as we journey in all of them
It’s all about encountering God in each situation
and allowing him to transfigure you into his likeness.
Because Jesus isn’t the only person to be transfigured,
God is also in the business of transforming us.
The word ‘metamorphosis appears in 2 other places in the NT
Just earlier, in chapter 3, Paul says this of Christians:
We all are being transformed (transfigured) into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
And in Romans 12:2 Paul says:
Do not conform to the pattern of this world,
but be transformed (transfigured) by the renewing of your mind.
Paul is saying that, when we put our faith in Jesus,
our sins are forgiven, we have eternal life,
God puts his Holy Spirit within us.
But that is not the end of it.
If we allow him, God’s Holy Spirit will continue to change us,
to transfigure us, so that we become more like Jesus,
and our thinking becomes transfigured from a worldly mindset to a Godly mindset.
God is in the process of transfiguring us in our thinking and in our behaviour.
Changed from one degree of glory into another, by the work of his Holy Spirit.
And while some of that transfiguration takes place on the mountains tops,
where we catch a glimpse of the glory of God,
a lot of it takes place in the valleys, in the struggles of life,
as the 9 disciples left behind were discovering
as they struggled with an epileptic boy and an argumentative crowd of onlookers.
We all go through difficult times, but don’t lose heart,
Paul says in Romans
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;
persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
The disciples learnt to trust Jesus in the difficult times.
It is the pressures of life that shape us and mould us,
smoothing off the rough edges and causing us to re think or principles and goals in life.
We can choose whether we respond in faith and become more like Jesus,
like a piece of carbon under great pressure and heat
that is eventually transformed into a diamond,
or we can choose to respond in unbelief and become bitter and angry
and remain like a lump of coal.
The process of transfiguration for Jesus, the full revelation of his glory in heaven,
would involve death and resurrection, as it often does for us,
letting go of one thing in order to take hold of something else.
And as it does for the caterpillar.
In order for the caterpillar to become a butterfly it first has to become a chrysalis,
an image, if you like, of a tomb, dying to one life in order to rise to another.
And that applies to all of us here, wherever we are in our relationship with God.
Wherever we are in our journey with Jesus,
he will be transfiguring us, if we’ll let him,
changing us, day by day, to become more like Jesus.
So, wherever you are today, on the mountain or in the valley,
God wants to meet with you and he wants to transform you
from one degree of glory to another,
To release the butterfly that is within,
so that we all become more like Jesus.
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.
(5) 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." (6) (He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.)
(7) Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: "This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!" (8) Suddenly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus.
(9) 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.
2 Corinthians 4:3-9
Even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. (4) The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
(5) For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. (6) For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God's glory displayed in the face of Christ.
(7) But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. (8) We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; (9) persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.