2 Kings 2:1-12a
2 Corinthians 3:12-4:2
“From Baptism to Transfiguration”
Grace and Peace to you my brothers and sisters in Christ, Amen.
How many of you remember my sermon on the Baptism of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ? On that day, which kick started the season of Epiphany, we read in the Gospel how after Jesus was baptized the heavens opened and the Spirit descended like a dove and voice was heard, proclaiming, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” The sermon I gave not only reflected on this revelation provided by God the Father, but also on others who had their own epiphanies, such as the wise men who journeyed to see this Christ Child and Peter who, through the help of the Father, proclaimed Jesus was Christ.
The Sermon was all about epiphanies, whether our own or of those in the Bible, reflecting on the fact that the only reason why we get these Aha moments, realizing that Jesus is Christ is because God the Father and/or Holy Spirit revealed this to us. Peter proclaimed that Jesus was Christ not because of the flesh, but because God the Father revealed this to him. And we, as Christians, proclaim that Jesus is Christ not because of our own abilities, but because of the Holy Spirit which fills us with faith and understanding. In the Small Catechism, Luther writes, “I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Ghost has called
me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith.” So, whereas we are incapable by our own devices, through the help of God we are capable of proclaiming Jesus is Christ, of having our own Epiphanies.
This is what the season of Epiphany is all about, having our own aha moments, remembering the time when the lightbulb clicked within us and how the Holy Spirit gave us the ability to have faith in God, and how as Christians we are instructed by Christ to be instruments providing the Holy Spirit to those who have yet to have their own epiphanies. It is also for this very reason that we begin the Season of Epiphany with the Baptism of our Lord when God the Father proclaims for all to hear, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
Now what is interesting about that sermon I gave is this, I said, “To those listening, to those who witnessed this event, God is practically telling them, ‘Listen, this is my Son.’” Why is that interesting? Well, let us read today’s Gospel, particularly verse 7, “And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, ‘This is my beloved Son; listen to him.’” Listen, this is my Son… This is my beloved Son; listen to him. To be frank, that was not intentional, yet it is remarkable how we began the Season of Epiphany with God the Father proclaiming, “You are my beloved Son,” therefore it is only befitting that we conclude the Season of Epiphany with God the Father proclaiming once again, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.”
Once again, God the Father is revealing to us, not just to Peter, James, and John, but through Scripture also us, that Jesus
is indeed His Son. We cannot believe this on our own, therefore we need the revelation which comes only from God to provide for us what can only be a miracle. The miracle of proclaim Jesus is the Son of God. God the Father is revealing this to us once again, and just like the baptism of His Son, God the Father reveals this in an equally, in not more fantastic and amazing, fashion.
With the Baptism He revealed His Son by parting the heavens, and descending His Spirit like a dove and proclaiming for the whole crowd, and there was a crowd, to hear. Now, as for the transfiguration, though there was no crowd, that is not necessary for, even Jesus said not to reveal what happened until after He has rose from the dead. But what did happen? The was a cloud that brought with it the Father’s proclamation, the appearance of Moses and Elijah of all people, and one more thing… what was it? Oh! How could I forget; the transfiguration of our Lord! Where Jesus, “was transfigured before them, and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them.”
A quick question about this transfiguration of our Lord; did Jesus became more perfect at that moment? Jesus transfigured into a cleaner and more perfect radiant white signifies His deity, His divinity, His Godliness. But did he become more perfect, more divine, during the transfiguration? Is he not already perfect, sinless, wholly God? Yes, he is! So did he become more perfect? No. So what happened? Was his perfection, which he already had, revealed through the transfiguration? Was his transfiguration a variation of God’s revelation?
To the disciples, during their daily activities, Jesus must have seemed to them to be a mere human. The Holy Spirit did reveal many things to them, and it is obvious that Jesus was at the very least a great prophet. Yet His persona was, well, very human. And that was intentional, but because of the folly of human reason, every now and then the disciples became forgetful of who Jesus really was. They had their share of epiphanies, but without the Holy Spirit continually revealing to them that Jesus is Christ, their views of Jesus will revert back to before their epiphanies. Before the transfiguration, Jesus appeared as a mere human, but through the transfiguration the perfection of Jesus’ divinity was revealed. And it was this revelation that terrified the three disciples and made them talk, and look, like shell shocked bass fish, not knowing what to say, only to blurb out, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” I can imagine how the disciples, as they walked down the mountain, mumbling to themselves, how idiotic they must have sounded and wished they said something better.
I’m almost reminded of the many examples, whether real or fictional, of young teenagers talking to their crushes and how they say some of the most ridiculous things. You know what I’m talking about? You get so flustered, and you have no clue what to say, you can’t find the words, and you tell yourself just spit something out, and in the end you end up embarrassing yourself. It happens to the best of us, were we get shell shocked with a most amazing yet terrifying opportunity and feel that we most absolutely have to say something. That is what happened to the disciples. Here’s Moses, Elijah, and Sparkles Jesus. What do I say, what do I say?
Let me make a tent for you… huh. Lucky them, God the Father saved them from their own embarrassment, and proclaimed his message, though the disciple’s words must have made Moses’ and Elijah’s day. Oh, well of all the things you could have said,
that is, well, most interesting.
After this proclamation, the cloud, the prophets, and the radiance of Jesus disappeared, and all was back to normal.
Epiphany is coming to a close, but that does not mean we should stop proclaiming the good news, assisting in the epiphanies of others, and thanking God for the epiphanies we ourselves have obtained. Let us not forget the message of Epiphany, but instead proceed throughout the rest of the church calendar proclaiming for all to hear Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
This year of all years, this is a message we need to hear, a reminder that no matter what happens, Jesus is still Lord, that He still watches over you, and His Kingdom will have no end. This is also a message that those who do not know Christ need to hear, so that they too may have a light in their lives despite the dark gloom that overshadows us today. And in years to come, no matter what we face, good and bad times, times of struggle and times of complacency, that we forget not that Jesus is Christ, and that we not only hold firm to our epiphanies, but also assist in the epiphanies of others.
There will be many more storms we will face. And whereas I have no clue what the future holds, do not lose hope. Never lose
hope. For God knows the future, and I have faith that God will lead us through every storm we may weather, for through the cross we know of God’s never ending desire to continually save the world through His only beloved Son.
So we may choose to walk the path of the discouraged, or we could walk the path that leads towards everlasting life, faith, hope, and love. The path that has indeed been revealed to us by God the Father and God the Holy Spirit; the path, the way, the life which is God the Son, Jesus Christ Himself. He is the way, let us never forget this, but let us continuously be reminded of this revelation.
Let us pray,
Dear Heavenly Father, you have revealed to us your Son in his most perfect splendor through the transfiguration, that Jesus is not just some mere Man, but that He is indeed your Son, God the Son. Help us to never forget this, and guide us through your Spirit so that others may so too realize the divinity of Jesus. We pray in your most holy name, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.