February 14, 2021
Pastor John Hering
2 Corinthians 4:3-6
2 Corinthians 4:3-6
3 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled among those who are perishing. 4 In the case of those people, the god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from clearly seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is God’s image.
5 Indeed, we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For the God who said, “Light will shine out of darkness,” is the same one who made light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the person of Jesus Christ.
There are moments of glory that change your life. Some of them you remember and some of those events changed your life, but someone told you about them. It was a glorious day when you were potty trained! You probably don’t remember that day, do you? Did you ever win an award at school for spelling or sports? How about your friends in high school or college. Together you experienced moments like your first boyfriend or girlfriend or even a class trip to Washington DC? How about travel? Maybe you’ve been to Paris and climbed the Eifel Tower, or climbed to the top of Pikes Peak? Traveling can cause moments of glory that change your life! There are also those unfortunate things that happen to people during their life that have great impact, but may not have been so glorious. Remember the big fight you had with your sibling? How about the car accident that still affects you? Or maybe even the crushing news that a spouse has been unfaithful? Or child who says they don’t believe in Jesus anymore. These are also moments that change your life.
Today is Transfiguration Sunday. It is the day we bring the Epiphany season to a close and begin to look ahead to the season of Lent. It is a day we remember Peter, James and John ascending up a mountain to see a glorious event that would change their life. Peter later wrote, “To be sure, we were not following cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the powerful appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For he received honor and glory from God the Father, when the voice came to him from within the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased” (2 Pet 1:16,17). Would you be surprised if someone told you that have also had such a glorious experience? You have been brought to a place where you have been changed once and for all. You have been brough to a place where you take something with you that will last for an eternity. So, may the Holy Spirit continue to change your life with Jesus in his
Moments of Glory
Brought to God’s Glory On The Mountain
We heard the account of the Transfiguration from Mark’s gospel. “Jesus took Peter, James, and John with him and led them up a high mountain where they were alone by themselves. There he was transfigured in front of them. 3 His clothes became radiant, dazzling white, whiter than anyone on earth could bleach them” (Mark 9:2-3). You would think that such a brilliant sight as this could never be dimmed in the eyes of people, any more than trying to stop the rays of sun during a sunrise in the morning. But, there has always been someone else lurking in the shadows no matter where Jesus went, and what he did. Though he couldn’t prevent the glory of God from appearing in the person of Jesus Christ, he does do his best to blind human observers with unbelief. This is how Paul was inspired to describe it. “3 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled among those who are perishing. 4 In the case of those people, the god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from clearly seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is God’s image.” It is a bit unsettling to hear Paul call Satan the “god of this age.” Jesus said this about Satan, “Now the ruler of this world will be thrown out” (John 12:31). Our English translation uses a small “g” to spell “god” to help make the point. In our day and age in this world Satan has power, not to destroy God or his saving work in the hearts of believers, but to dim that saving work in the hearts of unbelievers. How does Satan do this? He let’s people hear about God’s grace, how Jesus took away our sins and gave us his holiness, how we’re justified by faith and how we have a new life in Christ….. we can hear it all and grow numb! We hear it and think nothing of it. As Paul said, “it is veiled among those who are perishing.”
Left to ourselves this would be our lot in life—perishing with the unbelievers. For by nature we are not just blinded to the gospel, but also enemies of Jesus, hate him and can’t believe in him since we’re spiritually dead (Eph 2:1). This is why Paul insists, “Indeed, we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord.” It is the gospel of Jesus Christ that brings Satan to his knees. After the Holy Spirit creates that faith in your heart to receive what God has to offer, then Satan is no longer your master. Evil doesn’t rule over you. Economic difficulties, health issues, broken relationships, political turmoil, worry, fear and depression are not your master. Jesus Christ is your master.
This is what we’ve been watching during the Epiphany season. We have seen the clues as we watched Jesus grow up and engage in his ministry to heal the sick, cast out demons and reveal the mysteries of the kingdom of God. But, now the clues are over and it is time to see Jesus’ Moment of Glory on the Mountain! There is no more veiling of the Gospel. Mark records the event for us so we can climb with Peter, James and John and Be Brought To Witness God’s Glory on the Mountain! There shining in all his brilliance is Jesus Christ both God and Lord. How does this moment of glory change your life? Because you witness the one who loved you so much to leave heaven and become a human like you. You see the one who claimed you to be his own at your baptism. You see the one who gave his life to conquer death for you and your fellow believers. You see the one who gave his body and blood in his Holy Supper to assure you of God’s goodness, love and forgiveness. Through faith in Jesus you are changed now and forever! Praise God for the glory you behold in Jesus that changed, and then let’s
Bring God’s Glory With You From the Mountain
After experiencing glorious events in our life, you can’t help but tell people about it. You wouldn’t think being potty trained was such a big deal until your 3 year old comes running out of the bathroom with a huge smile on his face! “I did it! I did it!” Awards in school, falling in love (Valentines Day today!), amazing trips and climbing to the top Pikes Peak—these are life experiences that you love sharing with people you love. Those of us who have climbed mountains know how awesome the sight is on the top, but all you can do is take a picture and hike back down the mountain. What you saw at the top will never as glorious as the bottom. Mark recorded, “As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead” (Mark 9:9). We can understand Jesus’ point. We have seen over the past couple of weeks what happens when people only want Jesus to be their earthly Savior. His popularity increases, but the salvation of souls my be lost in the excitement of miracles. Therefore Paul wrote, “5 Indeed, we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For the God who said, “Light will shine out of darkness,” is the same one who made light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the person of Jesus Christ.” We want to take the glory with us from the Mount of Transfiguration, but let that glory always point to Jesus Christ. We can share how Jesus has been our Rock and Refuge during our life, and rejoice in those blessings, but we would rather point to that which matters for an eternity—that Jesus Christ is Lord. That Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. That Jesus is the light of the world. That Jesus has created faith in our heart so we can confess Jesus as our Lord and Savior. That is Bringing God’s Glory with You From the Mountain and into the lives of those around you.
I didn’t say that sharing God’s Glory in Jesus Christ would be easy. Indeed, God’s glory is constantly under attack by Satan and isn’t noticeable by sight. Yes, the Transfiguration and the pillar of fire of God’s glory in the Old Testament is an exception. God’s glory is more believed than seen. God’s glory is taken from the Mountain and brought down in hearts. You might hear about that glory from a young child who says, “Don’t worry, Mommy! God is with us.” Or from a young couple who wants to get married and have some kids but realizes the tough world any child is born into today, but hear them say, “We’ll lay out our best plans and pray, God’s will be done.” Or from how many people who have worried about the affect of the Corona virus whether health, job, and the future and hear them say, “I know God’s got this. I just need to be patient.” Or from the person who is wondering if they will ever find the right person with whom to fall in love. Or the couple that has watched their passion, intimacy and committee become challenged and hear them say, “Jesus loves me so much, His love inspires me to love others.” These are people who have brought God’s glory with them from the Mountain into their lives. They are people who have seen Jesus through their eyes of faith and rest secure in his promises.
During the Epiphany season we have witnessed Jesus changing the lives of people through his glorious healing and transforming power. It is good for us to see Jesus’ glory, especially today on the Mount of Transfiguration. For we can return to this mountain often during the next 6 weeks during Lent to be reminded of Jesus’ glory as true God, when we see him suffering as true man to pay for all our sins. It is good for us to bring Jesus’ glory with us down the mountain into our everyday lives so we can live confident in his promises. Let’s be eager to shine in this dark world in order to point people to the Moments of Glory—Yes, to point them to Jesus! Amen!