Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida is a wonderful place to visit if you are a fan ofharry potterstories. They have two wonderfully intricate and detailed parts of the park dedicated to Diagon Alley and Hogwarts. I've recently been able to visit and see some die-hard Harry Potter fans seeing it for the first time. As they turned the corner of the park and entered Diagon Alley, they squealed with joy and were overwhelmed with emotion. Their expectations were exceeded as they plunged into what they had only imagined before. It's not hard to say they were impressed.
I have experienced this in other situations as well. I saw a video of a man who had never seen colors before and put on glasses that allowed him to. He too was overwhelmed. I also saw a video of a baby who couldn't hear. He had hearing aids fitted at a Cincinnati hospital and he heard his mother's voice for the first time. It was a picture of utter joy and wonder.
I like these scenes. People feel overwhelmed by what they are experiencing for the first time. As incredible as these scenes are, they pale in comparison to what we find in our text. Moses, Aaron, and Hur ascended to the top of Mount Sinai, and "the glory of the Lord" settled there (Exodus 24:16). Moses entered the cloud and witnessed firsthand the glory of God. Can you cere it? How cool is that. Can there be anything better?
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I live in the Midwest where most of the time it is humid. The rain falls regularly. So people burn things with no regard for safety. Fires don't get out of control, usually. The problem is that the weather is occasionally dry, drier than normal or expected, and suddenly the fire consumes not only leaves and branches, but also barns and houses.
I have also lived in the West, in a drier climate where it is always dangerous. People treat fire with respect. They do not let the fire burn, but extinguish it completely. They don't think this dangerous phenomenon is a big deal.
In this passage, the glory of the Lord is described as "consuming fire." When Moses went up the mountain at the Lord's command, the people were afraid and treated God's presence with respect. None of that "Me and the man above have an understanding," which translates to "Who is this God anyway? I'd rather play golf or stay home with my feet up and fall asleep while checking the internet on my phone” (we used to say “with the Sunday paper on your lap”).
Above all, remember that a "consuming fire" is not something we can control, any more than we can control God.
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Henry Lyte was a dedicated shepherd, but asthma and tuberculosis limited his ability to care for his flock. For the last twenty-three years of his life, he pastored a small church among the fishermen of Lower Brixham, Devonshire, England. His illness often forced him to leave Devonshire regularly to rest and recuperate in warmer weather. Eventually his health deteriorated so much that he made the decision to move to the warmer climate of Italy. Before he left, he was determined to give his last sermon to the parishioners he loved, even though he could hardly breathe and almost had to drag himself to the pulpit due to his failing health. He was asked not to preach because his health was too delicate, but he responded with the now famous words: "It was better to wear out than to rust." written a few weeks earlier, titledStay with me. A few months later, Lyte set out on his journey to Italy. But before he could reach his destination, he died on November 20, 1847 in Nice, France.
The hymn he wrote and shared on the day of his last sermon, September 4, 1847, is a solemn hymn, as each verse ends with the plea "Stay with me," making the hymn a continuous call to God's personal presence. in each one it makes level and condition of life. The last stanza says:
You hold your cross in front of my closed eyes;
Shine through the dark and point me to the sky;
The morning breaks from the sky, and the vain shadows of the earth flee;
In life and in death, Lord, stay with me.
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2 Pedro 1:16-21
Peter writes about his own life experience. He shares his transfiguration experience and recalls that he himself heard the voice of God saying, "This is my son, my beloved, in whom I am well pleased." -The expected Messiah has arrived, he was present with us. Peter warns us not to ignore the light of this awareness.
How many of us have had the experience of seeing Jesus and hearing the voice of God? Not many I bet. However, that does not prevent some from having. I had a vision of Jesus calling me and encouraging me to wrap myself in his forgiving and reconciling arms. The whole story is too long to tell here, but I can still feel the warmth of that embrace, the love in Jesus' eyes, the safety and hope that I felt. Like Pedro, I remember those moments when the days are hardest, when I struggle to have faith. I reflect on my personal encounter with Christ. Those of us who have had these experiences keep coming back to our memories. Today Peter gives us his own reminder to hold on. That will be enough for today.
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2 Pedro 1:16-21
The transfiguration is about affirming the divinity of Jesus and his power and majestic glory over the universe. Martin Luther beautifully described the power of Christ:
The power of Christ is that he is sovereign over all things, that everything should be at his feet. It will last as long as the world stands.(the works of luther, Bd. 30, art. 163)
In the same spirit, with a cosmic vision in mind, the famous modern Catholic theologian Pierre Teilhard de Chardin writes:
The incarnation means the renewal, the restoration of all the energies and forces of the universe; Christ is the instrument, the center and the end of all creation.(hymn of the universe, S.144)
Given the wonderful comfort these insights into the majesty of Christ offer, life isn't so sweet without a sense of His power. John Calvin made this point beautifully when he wrote:
... the whole life of man, until he converts to Christ, is a destructive labyrinth of wanderings.(Calvin's comments, Bd.XXII/2, S.50)
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I am originally from Kansas, so I have heard many times during my travels that I am from the country of Oz, Dorothy and Toto.The Wizard of OzIt is, however, a good story and one that has stood the test of time. It's also a case where the movie may have eclipsed the popularity of the original book story. there is a scene thereThe Wizard of Ozin which Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Lion meet the "real" wizard. you remember, right? The giant screen has introduced a powerful, larger-than-life person whose booming voice echoes throughout the Emerald City. However, Toto opens the curtain and everyone realizes that the magician is just a man. Everything is show, lights and amplification. His exclamation "Don't listen to the man behind the curtain" falls on deaf ears. When he draws the curtain, he is seen as he is.
In today's text, the curtain is drawn and someone is also seen for what they are. Unlike the Wizard of Oz, however, this person is much more than a man. Jesus was transfigured before Peter, James, and John, and “his face shone like the sun, and his garments became dazzling white. Suddenly Moses and Elijah appeared to them and were talking with him” (verses 2-3). These three apostles saw the veil lifted for Jesus and were awed by his glory and power. It was so big that they fell to the ground in fear.
The drawing of the curtain revealed who Jesus is. You saw it?
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The Greek word translated "transfigured" in the NRSV isMetamorphosis,which in English is, ah, metamorphosis. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, this is “the action or process of changing form, form, or substance;especiallyTransfiguration by magic or witchcraft." But the metamorphosis, the transfiguration, the transfiguration of Jesus is not a change of figure, form or substance, and especially not a transformation by magic or witchcraft. What we see in the Transfiguration is the revelation of who Jesus was all along. The disciples see who Jesus really is! This is not a magic trick. It's more about Jesus watching over himself most of the time. And, of course, Jesus is revealed again in Revelation in the first chapter, and more importantly, in Jesus revealed as the Lion of Judah, who is actually the Lamb bearing the marks of the slaughter.
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John Bunyan was a Puritan minister best known for his bookpilgrim's progress. He delivered his last sermon on August 19, 1688, at Mr. Gamman's meeting-house near Whitechapel. Twelve days after this sermon, John Bunyan died. The text of the sermon was John 1:13. The message of the sermon is that every man and woman should examine themselves to find out if they have been born again or not. In his last sermon, Bunyan described the signs of a new birth. In the sermon, Bunyan asked his listeners, "Are you being brought to Christ from the dark dungeon of this world?" He continued: "When we see a king's son playing with a beggar, it is improper; So if you are the king's sons, live as the king's sons; If you have risen with Christ, set your sights on things above and not on the ones below..."
What does the story of the Transfiguration teach us? ›
The Glory of His Submission
Peter could not understand why the Son of God would submit to evil people and willingly suffer. The transfiguration was God's way of teaching Peter that Jesus is glorified when we deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him.
Transfiguration Sunday celebrates the glorious revelation of God in Jesus Christ and Christ's manifestation as the fulfillment of the law and the prophets. Jesus' radiant appearance on the mountaintop evokes the devouring fire of the glory of the LORD at Mount Sinai (Exodus 24.17).What is the spiritual meaning of transfiguration? ›
: an exalting, glorifying, or spiritual change.What did Moses and Elijah represent in the Transfiguration? ›
Moses and Elijah appear and stand beside Jesus. This symbolises that Jesus is their successor and has fulfilled both. He is now bringing a new covenant from God for all people. When God's voice is heard, He is reassuring the disciples that even though Jesus must suffer they must listen to him and obey him.What does the Transfiguration mean to us today? ›
The experience of the Transfiguration is meant to point forward to the sufferings Jesus is about to experience. It is meant to strengthen the disciples faith, revealing to them in a powerful way the divine hand that is at work in the events Jesus will undergo.What does the Transfiguration tell us about Jesus? ›
The transfiguration not only supports the identity of Jesus as the Son of God (as in his baptism), but the statement "listen to him", identifies him as the messenger and mouth-piece of God.What is the message of the artwork the Transfiguration? ›
The Transfiguration represents a prefiguration of the Last Judgment, and of the final defeat of the Devil. Another interpretation is that the epileptic boy has been cured, thus linking the divinity of Christ with his healing power. Raphael died on 6 April 1520.What is the message of Jesus Transfiguration and what does it occur as? ›
The transfiguration of Jesus Christ was a powerful demonstration of His divine nature and manifestation of His glory, which Jesus possessed prior to coming to earth in the human body. This revelation is referenced in a passage in the Apostle Paul's message to Phillippi.What symbols do you see in the story of the Transfiguration? ›
Christ – the second person of the Holy Trinity – at the moment of His Transfiguration is circumscribed by the following three symbols of light: the rays which form a ellipsoid square, the golden lines (chrysography), the luminous crown (halo) around his head and the white vestments.Why did Jesus only take 3 disciples to the Transfiguration? ›
(Matthew 17:1-2) Christ did not manifest his glory to all peoples at once, nor even did he show himself transfigured to the entire company of the Apostles; rather, he chose only the three – Peter, James the Greater, and John the Beloved – as witnesses to his Transfiguration.
Why did God interrupt Peter at the Transfiguration? ›
God clearly pointed out that Jesus is God and that He was going to suffer and die for the sins of the world. Even when Peter thought he grasped what was going on, God had to interrupt. Thankfully, God worked through Peter and He got it.What are the characteristics of the Transfiguration? ›
The composition of the Transfiguration is divided into two distinct parts: the Miracle of the Possessed Boy on a lower level; and the Transfiguration of Christ on Mount Tabor, in the background. The transfigured Christ floats in an aura of light and clouds above the hill, accompanied by Moses and Elijah.What happened to the disciples at the Transfiguration? ›
Feast of the Transfiguration, Christian commemoration of the occasion upon which Jesus Christ took three of his disciples, Peter, James, and John, up on a mountain, where Moses and Elijah appeared and Jesus was transfigured, his face and clothes becoming dazzlingly bright (Mark 9:2–13; Matthew 17:1–13; Luke 9:28–36).Why did Jesus choose Peter among his disciples? ›
But Jesus chose Peter. The main reason could not be Peter's character of his strength, but rather the strength of his faith. Deep down he knew himself to be weak and imperfect, hence he was convinced that his total security and strength could only come from a power greater than his own.What can you teach in the Transfiguration? ›
Transfiguration is a subject taught at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It teaches the art of changing of the form and appearance of an object.
Transfiguration is when we mirror God in our daily living by our faith and good works. Our good works are manifestations of our love of God and neighbor. Doing good and doing acts of charity are what the will of God tell us today. We can do it small or big time.What lesson did you learn from the life of Jesus? ›
Live the Golden Rule
Jesus taught the Golden Rule during His Sermon on the Mount: “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them” (Matthew 7:12). In other words, treat others the way you want to be treated. As you do so, you will strengthen your relationships and be happier.