Luke 9:28-36 – “About eight days after He had said this, Jesus took Peter, John, and James with Him and went up a mountain to pray. While Jesus was praying, the appearance of His face changed, and His clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly, both Moses and Elijah were talking with Him. They appeared in heavenly glory and were discussing Jesus’ approaching death and what He was about to fulfill in Jerusalem.
Peter and the men with him were sleeping soundly. When they woke up, they saw Jesus’ glory and the two men standing with Him. As Moses and Elijah were leaving Him, Peter said to Jesus, “Teacher, it is good that we are here. Let us put up three tents – one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” Peter did not know what he was saying.
While he was saying this, a cloud overshadowed them. They were frightened as they went into the cloud. A voice came out of the cloud and said, “This is My Son, whom I have chosen. Listen to Him!”
After the Voice had spoken, they saw that Jesus was alone. The disciples said nothing, and for some time they told no one about what they had seen.”
Have you ever said, “Wow! I wish I was there!” It is one thing to hear about some important event, or to see it on TV. But when you are there, it is even more amazing. Like last week at the Super Bowl – the awesome atmosphere, the excitement of being in the crowd. When we talk with someone who had been at some important event we might think, I wish I was there. We can look at pictures all we want, but to have been there is awesome.
Do we wish we could have been there with Peter, James, and John when Jesus revealed His glory in the Transfiguration. Can you imagine getting a glimpse of heaven. Someday we will see Jesus in all of His glory. He will shine brighter than the sun, and it will not hurt your eyes to look at Him. Someday in Heaven, we will see all the people we have read about – Moses, Elijah, and many others. They will be our friends. Jesus gave three of His disciples a glimpse of that on the mountaintop at that special time. I wish we could have been there.
Why doesn’t Jesus do those kind of things today? Don’t you think it could boost our faith a little bit? We believe what the Bible says. We believe that Jesus is the Son of God, the Savior of the world. But sometimes we could use a boost in our faith. Sometimes we wish that Jesus would pull back the curtain a little bit to show us His glory.
Why doesn’t He? How does Jesus strengthen our faith today? Let us think about that as we remember the amazing event of the Transfiguration of Jesus when the 3 disciples got a glimpse of God’s glory.
The description of the Transfiguration as told by the disciples who witnessed it is pretty amazing – Jesus’ face changed, His clothes changed, everything about Him became very bright. For a moment in time, Jesus stopped hiding His glory, and there with their own eyes they saw the Light of light, very God of very God. Then they saw two prophets they had learned about since they were children – Moses and Elijah. They were in all their splendor.
And they not only saw things, the disciples heard things – the voice of God the Father telling them that Jesus is the Son of God and that they should listen to Him. For a moment in time, heaven and earth came together on that mountaintop. It was so awesome that Peter said: “Lord, it is good that we are here.”
Then it was all over. Everything went back to the way it was. Why did Jesus do this? To strengthen the faith of those 3 disciples. Very soon Peter, James, and John would see Jesus suffer and die. Very soon the Light of the world would be hidden by the darkness of sin and death on the Cross. Jesus saw this coming. So in His care for the disciples He put this image of His glory into their heads and hearts. He gave them a hint of heaven so that they would know that He really was the Son of God.
But what about us? Aren’t there times when we need a boost in our faith? We know Jesus promises to be with us always. But sometimes we feel like we are all alone in this world. We know that Jesus is in control of all things – in control of our life, in control of the whole world. But when we look at how much of a mess the world is in, when we look at the troubles in our own lives, we sometimes forget that Jesus is in control. We sometimes doubt. We feel we need a boost in our faith.
And what about all the times we have sinned? We know that Jesus says He forgives us and that He purifies us. But look at all our sins! We have not loved God above all other things. We have not loved others in the way that Jesus has loved us. Have you ever thought about all the times you have fallen short as a husband or wife? As a father or mother? As a son or daughter? Have you been perfect? Just think of all the times you did not put forth your best work! Why did you not pray more this week? Why did you not read the Bible more this week? What is wrong with you? Have you pondered your sins? Sometimes it is hard when I think of all my sins to believe that God really forgives me and loves me. We feel we need a boost in our faith.
Where does Jesus do this? Where is the mountaintop I need to boost my faith? The Apostle Paul wrote, “Indeed, our lives are guided by faith, not by sight.” (II Corinthians 5:7) God is not going to dazzle our eyes with holy light from Heaven, like He did back then. God is not going to dazzle our ears today with His booming voice from the sky, like He did back then. Today we are guided by faith, not by sight.
Do you feel your life is out of control? Do you feel that the world is out of control? Do you think God has abandoned you? Look into God’s Word. Come to a Bible study. Turn off that TV or computer. Open that Bible you have at home. There in the Word Jesus touches your heart. He strengthens your faith. He fills your soul with His promise to be with you always. Here He promises to work everything in your life for good. What an amazing blessing is the Word of God. You and I might be envious of those disciples who saw Jesus’ glory on that mountain. But I wonder if they would be envious of us, that we have the Old and New Testaments available to read for the strengthening of our faith.
So where can we go to make our faith stronger? Where can we find Jesus today? There is a place. That place is God’s Word – the Bible. And that place is in the Sacrament – the Lord’s Supper. There is our taste of Heaven.
Do you have a hard time believing that God really loves you and forgives you? Then come to the Lord’s Supper where you hear the words Jesus says. He gave His body for you and shed His blood for you. Come here. I will forgive you. Jesus strengthens your faith – takes away your doubts. He said, Take and eat. Take and drink. This is My body and blood given and shed for you.
Today, Jesus shows us His glory through His Word and the Sacraments. You can see His glory with the eyes of faith. A time will come when the curtain will finally be pulled back, and we will see the same light that the disciples saw. We will hear the same Voice the disciples heard. That day will come. Until then, let Jesus strengthen your faith here. As we hear His Word and receive the Sacraments, may we also say with the Apostles, “Lord, it is good that we are here.” In Jesus’ name.