“It is good for us to be here”
Luke 9:28-36 cf. Matthew 17:1-9, Mark 9:2-8, Lev. 23:34-42, Exodus 35:29-35, 2 Cor. 3:7,
How to The Cloud (Exodus 16:10, 19:9, 33:9; 1 Kings 8:10)
You can download a copy of my sermon notes at dexterhinkson.wordpress.com
Good morning, let us pray….
May the meditations of my heart and the words spoken be pleasing to you gracious Lord and life changing to all who are in attendance.
I want to intro this short video clip to give you a snap shot in the spiritual heritage I grew up with. The first 4 years of my life I spent most of my free time with my grandparents when I lived in Trinidad because I was their first grandchild and the extended families first great grandchild. When I was 10 my grandparents immigrated to the US so I would visit them in Maryland during the summers. My grandfather was one of the deacons of his local Baptist church in Maryland and he never wasted an opportunity to turn any conversation into a sermon and a call to repentance. This video I’m about to show you is fictional prayer, however it’s a carbon copy of the type of experiences I had with my grandfather.
Video: family prayer at the dinner table
If you’re a grandparent know that God is not done using you to plant seeds in the hearts of your grand children. I hope one day I will be able to preach with that kind of flare and style like my Grandfather. Reflecting on those summers in Maryland with my grandparents it is no surprise God gave me the spiritual gift of evangelism.
In keeping with my grandfather’s preaching tradition, I will be doing expository sharing of God’s word.
If you have your bible please turn with me to Luke 9:28-36, some of your bibles will have a subheading which may say “The Transfiguration” which is a fancy seminary word that describes Jesus being revealed in his glorified state. In the Greek (Preobrazhenie) Metamorphosis, meta means across and, by extension, change; morph a form or shape; -osis makes an abstract
In the Latin is Transfiguration “Trans” a means “across.” where one goes across one boundary into another.
word “figure,” some sort of shape or form, often referring to a human shape.
The combination of suffixes in –ation makes a verbal action into a noun.
With that being said its an amazing thing about gathering as God’s people we have the opportunity as a community to cross into that spiritual realm through our prayers, praises, reading of God’s word to experience the Shekinah presence of God.
I love reading Luke 9:28-36 each year during lent (means 40) the 40 days before Jesus is crucified we encounter it again and again. It’s like eating at a wedding banquet where there are so many choices of things to eat, in the same way there is so many ways one can experience this passage. Since this is our final Sunday before the New Year.
The theme of this message or my sermon tweet is
“It is good for us to be here, when we dwell in his Shekinah presence, we see Jesus glorified in our hearts and lives” Dexter Hinkson at @dexter2010
(repeat sermon tweet)
You may be asking yourself why preach on the Transfiguration when its not Lent or Easter. I felt lead to share some spiritual insights on this passage because this is one of several New Testament accounts where we see a short glimpse of God glory revealed in the person of Jesus Christ. Which is my prayer for this community and the youth that we all experience Jesus glorified in this coming year. (the other two situations is Jesus baptism and ascension).
Illustration: picture of the universe
I was trying to come up with an example to describe something that can’t be summed up in finite words, which is God’s glory. In Hebrew it is called the Kvod (cavod) adonai where most Hebrew scholars coin the phrase shekinah that means(manifested glory of the Lord or him who dwells) feminine noun.
Kvod means (Glory or weight) and adonai means (Lord or Father). In the Old Testament many saw God’s shekinah glory as the physical weighted presence of God. It has this tangible quality to it.
Illustration: of Milky Way galaxy
The first image is the Milky Way galaxy. Scientist calculates it would take 230 million years for our sun to do one full rotation around the Milky Way.
The next picture of the galaxies we know of and our place in cosmos.
As wide and vast the universe is, it’s like a grain of sand in the cosmos compared to the infinite dimensions of He who made the universe.
Verses 28-29 says…..
As we reflect on this passage we see Jesus retreating to a quiet place and often times a mountainside. A present day comparison would be going to the cottage or summer camp. It’s far removed from our daily distractions, it requires going on a journey and when we leave we are changed for the better.
I use to never understand the love affair with cottages until friends of mine started inviting me to theirs and I got to experience God creation without the bright lights of the city. There is something about surrounding yourself with nature that opens us up to hear from God. Throughout scripture we see that mountains become a connecting point for God to speak to us.
In this passage we see Jesus picks three interesting disciples to accompany him, Peter who was a blue collar fishermen, passionate, often times putting his foot in his mouth. John and James also blue collar fishermen who Jesus nicked named Sons of Thunder. Some commentators believe it refers to their loud and fiery preaching.
I wondered why these three particular disciples and it dawned on me that they were the first to follow Jesus call to be his disciples. It began me thinking about each one of our spiritual journeys.
I often here people say to me, when I retire I will serve the church let me live my life, grow some equity put my children to through school, downsize to a bungalow. When I have done all of that I will do it. My response is look at what Jesus did for those who followed him from the beginning the sooner we start walking with the Lord the deeper our faith will grow and out of that the more God reveals his glory too us.
In my own faith journey I don’t believe God withholds showing us his presence, I believe the issue is we need to create space for God to reveal himself on his timetable.
I also have had people say to me in the past, I like coming to church but I will leave all the spiritual heavy lifting to the pastors. My response to that is look at who Jesus brought with him. Three everyday blue collar fishermen who were rough around the edges however Jesus gave them a wondrous gift to experience his Shekinah glory because they followed him from the beginning.
We see this thread in scripture of God calling and revealing himself to those who were considered lowly in society or outcast, those who people would over look, however these were the types of people Jesus revealed his Shekinah glory, his weighted tangible presence.
You may be wondering what’s so important about seeing Jesus glorified? Its not simply that they say him in his divine majestic appearance which is awesome, however we also need to take note that they allowed themselves to be changed by it. There is something about seeing Jesus revealed in his fullness that transforms us like no other experience the world can offer.
Illustration: Michigan Wolverines road trip
Years ago a few friends of mine use to make a road to trip to An arbor Michigan for their interstate game of Michigan verses Michigan state. It was a blast driving down early, sleeping in a burger king parking lot, being apart of the tailgate party and then finally watching Michigan beat Michigan State with 100,000 other fans. As cool as that was it was a very different experience actually being on the field as a player because your in the game. Anyone who has played a team sport or has been apart of band you what I mean. I share this story to say this, if you haven’t gotten into the game spiritually speaking, Jesus is calling your number in 2013 he wants you on the field to see his glory revealed up close.
In the background of this passage Luke draws our attention to Exodus, Mt. Sinai, Moses in the tent of meeting (Exodus 35:29-35) and the image of prophet Elijah and mount Carmel (1 Kings 18…)
In other words Moses is a reminder (typological figure) of the past of God’s faithfulness and Elijah is (Eschatological figure) a reminder of the future coming Messiah. Jesus stands in the centre as the fulfillment both.
As I said before Mountains are places were God stoops low to allow us to draw near to him. In the New Year there is leadership summit conference and many of you will be encouraged to attend. I thought the name of the conference Summit is symbolic and I pray it will be prophetic of the life transforming experience all those who will attend will have while they are there.
I believe Luke was using words like fear and sleepiness to indicate to slowness of the disciples to understand and believe. I believe there are many things that can cause us to be become spiritually sleepy. The first one may be a little surprising is the life of ease and comfort, not wanting to leave our comfort zone, it can hinder us from considering the challenge and call to be Christ disciples.
Illustration: The Old wood stove
I heard the story of a new graduate from the seminary who went out to his first congregation, a country church which had a long history. As he was conducting his first worship service, he noticed right away that everyone sat on one side of the church. That seemed sort of strange. When it came time for the sermon, the entire congregation stood up, walk over to the other side of the church and sat down to listened. This new pastor couldn’t figure it out. No one explained it to him. The same thing happened week after week.
Finally the pastor pieced it together: many years earlier, the church was heated by a woodstove over on one side of the building. The building was cold during the winter. When people first got to church, everyone sat on one side, close to the woodstove. As the service would go on, the woodstove would get too warm for comfort, and so the congregation developed the practice of moving over to the other side of the church before the sermon.
Even though the church building had been remodeled several times and the woodstove had long since been replaced, the congregation still kept its practice of changing sides during the service. Most of the members didn’t even know why; it was just something they did every Sunday.
Nobody likes change, however we read in scripture that Jesus left his heavenly home to take the role of a servant to bridge the gap between us and him.
Another area is hardship, which can be a barrier from wanting to step out in faith. Each one of us has something in our lives that makes us spiritually sleepy. The question is are we going to allow that issue to cause us to miss an opportunity to see the Shekinah glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Illustration: Martha complex
I know in my own life I tend to be Martha always happy to be doing, helping others and serving which are all good things and bring glory to God. God keeps reminding me by his spirit prayer takes precedence over programs, he keeps teaching me to be more like a Mary and trust he will take care of the details.
Here is Peter responding like all of us, when we experience something amazing and wonderful we want to document it. Peter didn’t have access to digital camera, facebook, twitter, or iphones, so Peter did what the Israelites have done for hundreds of years they built little tabernacle or booths as reminders of what God has done. What was God’s response to Peter’s suggestion, God spoke.
I want us to take a moment and quietly reflect on this verse 35 for moment “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; Listen to him” (Pause for 30 sec.)
What is Jesus saying to us this morning, are we taking time away from the busyness of life to listen? Psalm 51:15-17 say “O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise. You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”
Illustration: Urbana 2012
One of my professors daughters is at Urbana 2012 world missions conference right now in the US and on New Years Eve she will experience an incredible moving of God’s spirit when her and 20, 000 plus university students and missionaries from across the globe gather for a evening of worship in various languages lead by a mass choir of 800 students.
To say it will be epic is an understatement, I have to say it’s one of those experiences in my life where I got to taste a bit of what heaven on earth, when all of God’s people from every nation gather to worship him.
I would love to see us as a church be a catalyst for that presence of God on this side of the border.
The Christian life is an entry into light, an encounter with Jesus Christ. When we encounter Jesus Christ, our failings, mistakes and bad choices are revealed. But the light of Christ signals the dawn of a new beginning, another chance and a fresh start. Our life is changed and transformed. Our life shines because Jesus shines in us and his mercy encompasses us. Christ expects us to share his light and mercy with the world. We need to be transformed like the disciples.
I believe the disciples found Jesus alone because he is all we need to sustain us in this life. He is the fulfillment of who the prophets and lawgivers spoke about. When we create that space in our lives to hear from God, all we will see is Jesus glorified before us. Christ was transfigured, so we can be transformed. “It is good for us to be here, when we dwell in his Shekinah presence, we see Jesus glorified in our hearts and lives”
Let us pray,
“Lord, keep us always alert and awake to you, to your word, your action, and your daily presence in our life. Let us see your glory in the new year, let the light you put in each one of us shine bright as a testament of your great love.” Amen
Most scholars give three possibilities: Mount Meron or Mount Tabor or Mount Hermon. It seems to me that Mount Tabor is the better choice of locations. Why? Early Church Fathers such as Origen, Cyril of Jerusalem and Jerome identified “a high mountain apart” as Mount Tabor. Also, after the event of the Transfiguration, Jesus goes “on from there and passed through Galilee.” (Mark 9:30) Mount Tabor is located in Galilee and so the story flows naturally and geographically from this “high mountain apart” into Galilee.