Jesus's transfiguration gave the disciples a glimpse of his divine glory, but his sacrificial death on the cross fully revealed his glory and what God is like. To truly see God's glory and be like Him, we must have the mind of humble, selfless service that was in Christ. If we want to go to heaven and be glorified, we must become servants now and live sacrificial lives like Jesus.
Do you ever wish that you could see the glory of the Lord? I've always been fascinated by the text that we see throughout the Old and New Testament where the physical world is peeled back and people can see into the spiritual realm. And they get a glimpse of God. They get a glimpse of God on His throne, perhaps, or from a burning bush, or in a cloud at the temple, or on Mount Sinai.
And whether it was Jacob, or Moses, or Isaiah, or Ezekiel, or, or John in the New Testament, or the Apostle Paul, every single one of these people who, who see the glory of the Lord, or see even a vision of the likeness of the glory of the Lord, they leave that experience changed. And I wonder, I wonder how much better I would be, how much better all of us would be, if, if just for a moment, if Jesus...
appeared to us in His divine form. If we saw the glory of the Lord in Jesus Christ before us with our own eyes, how would we be changed? How would we be better, more devoted, more committed, more spiritual in our thinking and in our actions? Well, may I suggest this morning that we can, that we can see the glory of the Lord, but maybe not in the way that
I'd like to begin this morning by thinking for just a few minutes about the passage that we talked about in our Bible class on Sunday morning last week with the Transfiguration. If you have your Bible with you, would you take it out and turn to Matthew chapter 17? As we think about seeing the glory of the Lord, I'd like to begin in that text.
And I texted Jesse, um, last week I guess, or maybe it was the beginning of this week, uh, and asked him about what he covered and so forth so that we're not stepping on one another. This is, this is just a refresher in some ways before we get into the real meat of what we want to talk about this morning.
But I think this transfiguration is a great jumping off point for us to think about how we're supposed to see the glory of the Lord. Thank you for being here this morning. And let's consider this for just a moment as we, as we consider the glory that we're supposed to see and the glory that they saw at the transfiguration.
If you're there in Matthew chapter 17, you can read along with me. What I'm gonna do is, I'm gonna put the text up on the screen. But I'm also going to include the details that are found in Mark's gospel and Luke's gospel of the Transfiguration so that we can get the full picture, just like in those little yellow books that we have.
Okay? So I'm going to put this up on the screen. I'm going to read from this text, this combined text, but you can follow along in Matthew chapter 17 or up on the board if you'd like to. After six days, Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. and led them up a high mountain by themselves as He was praying.
The appearance of His face changed, and His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became dazzling white, as bright as a flash of lightning, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. And what is it that they see?
Well, they spoke about His departure, which was about to be, to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem. Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw His glory. And the two men standing with him, as the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, Master, it is good for us to be here.
Let us put up three shelters, three tents, three tabernacles. Maybe your translation says one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah. He did not know what to say. They were so frightened. While he was still speaking, a bright cloud appeared and enveloped them. And they were afraid as they entered the cloud.
A voice came from the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son, whom I have chosen. With Him I am well pleased. Listen to Him. When the disciples heard this, they fell face down on the ground, terrified. But Jesus came and touched them. Get up, He said. Don't be afraid. Suddenly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them.
So here we find Peter and James and John taken by Jesus up on this mountain where he is transfigured before them. Uh, that's the same word that we find elsewhere in the New Testament that means transformed. That Jesus was transformed. Transformed from what? Transfigured from what to what? Well, from his bodily, earthly, physical form to see a glimpse of his heavenly glory, his divine form in one way or another.
Why did this happen? Why was this glimpse of His divine glory given to these
What was the purpose of this transfiguration? Well, very quickly, let me suggest that there were three purposes in this taking place. Number one, it was to provide comfort to Christ. There's a little detail there that we read that's only found in one of the Gospels. As Jesus was about to enter the most difficult point of his life, just months away from his death on a cross, Elijah and Moses appear and speak to him about his departure.
That word literally means His exodus. And just as Jesus will deliver His people from His sin, from their sins, Moses delivered the people from Egyptian bondage. If anyone was in a position to speak to Him about the things that were to come, And to bring him comfort, it was these two men. I think primarily we usually think about how this transfiguration emphasized the authority that Jesus had.
Moses and Elijah are synonymous with this idea that's found throughout the, uh, the New Testament, to refer to the Old Testament. Of course, the New Testament wasn't around at this point, so they didn't call it the Old Testament. What did they call it? They called it the Law and the Prophets. And we see this throughout the Gospels, the Book of Acts, the Epistles.
I've given you a few examples up there. This idea of the Law and the Prophets. And if you were going to think to yourself and say, What one person represents the Law? Well, it's called the Law of Moses. Right? So we have Moses. And in the minds of most, who is it that represents the prophets? Well, it would be Elijah, this great prophet.
And so we have Moses and Elijah, and yet the emphasis is on Jesus and His authority. And those two great men, as great as they were, they kind of fade into the background. And God says, You need to listen. To this one. I think it's, I think Peter is funny. A lot of times I think maybe because I see so much of myself in Peter and Peter didn't know what to say, but he's gotta say something here.
So he says, I've got an idea. Let's build three tenths. Three tabernacles, and, and Moses can be in one and Elijah can be in one and Jesus can be in one and, and I think sometimes that word tabernacle throws us off a little bit. Uh, in the NIV that I read on the screen, it just says shelters. It's just a tent.
That's what he's talking about there. It's not a tabernacle where they're gonna come and worship Moses and Elijah. That would be wrong in every way. I think what Peter is saying is kind of like what we say. Uh, have you ever thought to yourself or heard somebody say, maybe you've said it yourself, Man, when I get to heaven.
When I get to have, I just can't wait to talk to Paul and ask him about this. Or talk to Peter and ask him about this. Or talk to David and ask him about this. There's so much that I'd like to know, so much that I want explained. And man, when I get there and I get to talk to him myself, that's what I'm going to do.
I kind of think that's what Peter's doing here. I think Peter's saying, Hey, Moses and Elijah are here. We've got all these questions. We'd love to talk to them about the law and the prophets. Let's just set up some tents. We can get some people in line. Maybe we're not going to charge admission, but you know, they can, people can come and they can talk to them.
And we're going to talk to you, Jesus, as well. All three of you. We're going to talk to all three of you. But God speaks from this cloud, which reminds us of His glory at the temple and on Mount Sinai. And He says, this is My beloved Son. And He said that before at Jesus baptism. But he adds something very important this time.
He says, Listen to Him, because His authority, and what He has to tell you, supersedes Moses and Elijah, the Law, and the Prophets, because He has all authority in Heaven and on Earth. Now, I think, certainly number two, maybe number one, we think about that and we see that with the transfiguration. But may I suggest that there is a third element here.
And this is where I would like to focus our attention for the rest of our time this morning. The purpose of the Transfiguration, number three, was to reveal a foretaste of the glory.
Jesus, on this occasion, appears with some of the glory that He had before He came to this earth in human form. And the glory that they saw was not just the glory that Jesus would have in the future, it was the glory that He had then. But I suggest this morning that that glory was just a foretaste of the glory that would be more clearly revealed and what he was going to do on the cross.
What was it that Jesus was talking about before and after the transfiguration in our daily Bible readings as we've read through that, just before he goes up on the mountain and on the way down with Peter and James and John. He says that He, the Son of Man, is going to suffer and die and rise again. And that raising up might be another reason why we see Moses and Elijah represented here.
What happened to the bodies of Moses and Elijah at the end of their lives? Do you remember in Deuteronomy chapter 34? There with Moses, he gets a glimpse into the promised land, but he dies, and he's buried by the Lord. And remember what the text says, very, very specifically, it says, No one knew where to find his body.
Does that sound familiar at all? About one who is buried, and the tomb is empty. And they don't know where to find his body. But what about Elijah? Is there anything odd that takes place at the end of his life? Well, he doesn't even die! In 2 Kings chapter 2, Elijah is taken up into heaven while his disciple, Elisha, what?
Watches him disappear into heaven. And no doubt, we are reminded of Jesus and His ascension into heaven after His resurrection. And His disciples watching Him go up into heaven. And we are being pointed forward in the text by Moses and Elijah to see the glory of Christ. To see His resurrection from the grave, which was glorious.
To see His ascension into heaven, which revealed His glory. But most of all, we are intended to see, I believe, in this text. What James and John and Peter were supposed to see in this text. That Jesus glory was going to be revealed. The main course. This was just the appetizer, the foretaste. The main course.
His glory was going to be revealed, and His sacrifice on the cross. I said we studied this on Sunday morning last week, and indeed we did. But then during our time of worship and partaking of the Lord's Supper, Keith Hancock came and did a Lord's Supper talk, and he talked about Jesus in the garden and read from that text.
And because we had just studied the transfiguration in Bible class before that, I saw something, and this is so cool, when you see something for the first time, I saw something I had never seen before. How similar those two texts are between the Transfiguration and Jesus in the Garden as He prays. Have you ever thought about that?
Turn to Matthew chapter 26, if you would. Uh, as we think about the Garden of Gethsemane, I tell you how... Struck I was by this. I only heard about the first half of Keith's talk. I apologize for that, Keith. Because I went down a rabbit trail thinking about this and writing these things down. And, and last Sunday afternoon, Stephanie had to talk me off the ledge.
I'm like, I gotta preach this. I mean, I just saw this. I've gotta preach this. And she's like, wait a second, don't you have a sermon tonight? I said, I do. I'm gonna preach on Israel and Palestine and all of that. She's like, maybe you should just preach that and save this for next week. So, that's the wisdom of the wise.
And I followed through with that. But I want you to see how very similar these texts are. So here's your assignment. I'm going to put this up on the screen again. You can read here from Matthew chapter 26 beginning in verse 36. But there are details from Mark, Luke, and John that I'm going to combine and put on the screen behind me.
Okay? So, as we read, here's your assignment. What does this text have in common with the one we just read? In regard to the transfiguration. What do these two have in common? Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane. And he said to them, Sit here while I go over there to pray. And he took Peter, James, and John, the two sons of Zebedee, along with him.
And he began to be deeply distressed and sorrowful and troubled. And he said to them, My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me. Pray. that you will not fall into temptation. Going a little further, about a stone's throw beyond them, he fell with his face to the ground, and prayed that, if possible, the hour might pass from him.
'Abba, Father, he said, 'everything is possible for you. 'Father, if you are willing, 'take this cup from me, 'yet not my will, but yours, be done. 'An angel from heaven appeared to him, And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly. And his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. And when he rose from the prayer, he went back to the disciples.
He found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. Simon, he said to Peter, are you asleep? Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour? Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The Spirit is willing to help. But the body is weak. Once more, he went away and prayed the same thing. My father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.
When he came back, he again found them sleeping because their eyes were heavy. They did not know what to say to him. So He left them and went away once more, and prayed the third time, saying the same thing. Then He returned to the disciples the third time, and He said to them, Are you still sleeping and resting?
Enough! The hour has come. Look! The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up! Let us go. Here comes my. Now at first glance, it doesn't seem like those two texts have a whole lot in common. But notice just a few things with me. Commonalities, if you've been in any of my Bible classes over the last several years, when we find commonalities between two texts, what that shows is there's a connection here.
And so let's see how strong this connection really is. Both of these texts take place on a mountain. Uh, we're not sure which mountain with the transfiguration. We just know it's a mountain. We know the Garden of Gethsemane was here on the Mount of Olives, at the base of the Mount of Olives. So they're on a mountain.
And what is Jesus doing? Jesus is going there to pray. He's praying both before and during these events. With only James, John, and Peter present. His inner circle who come with him. And they're very sleepy. They're sleeping. Both texts make that explicit. They don't know what to say and what happens on this occasion.
Now Peter says something with the transfiguration. Maybe he's learned his lesson a little bit. He says nothing, uh, when we see them in the garden. Jesus is the beloved son of his father. We see that God calls him that beloved son. And then Jesus addresses him in the garden as Abba, father. Someone falls on their face.
We see the inner circle does that at the transfiguration. Jesus falls on his face in the garden. There is a miraculous appearance at the transfiguration. We see that there is Moses and Elijah. There is an angel that appears miraculously in the garden. Jesus tells this inner circle to get up at the end of these events.
And Jesus refers to himself in the same way as the Son of Man. And so we see all of these connections, that these events have this in common. But there is one more that maybe isn't quite as obvious as these ten. And maybe you found others as we were reading together. And that is the commonality. That each account reveals the glory of the Lord.
Well, you know that commonalities establish connection, but differences make the point. And what is the difference? Especially as we think about this one thing that they have in common. That Jesus glory is being revealed. Well, the biggest and most important difference is the way that Christ's glory is shown in these texts.
In Exodus chapter 16 and Exodus chapter 24, the glory of the Lord appears in a cloud, just as the cloud that surrounds them at the transfiguration is seen. And Jesus says just before his transfiguration in Luke chapter 9 and verse 26, the Son of Man will come in His glory. And in the glory of the Father.
And then in verse 32 of Luke chapter 9, it says explicitly of the transfigured Lord, they saw His glory. But this glory, as great as it was, was just a foretaste of the glory to come at Jesus death. I ask you again, do you ever wish that you could just see the glory of the Lord? Well, the disciples had this same wish.
They, too, wished to see the glory of the Lord. Turn to John chapter 14 in your Bibles, if you would. John chapter 14.
John chapter 14, begin reading.
Now this is on the night of his betrayal, just before they go to the Garden of Gethsemane. And in verse 7 Jesus says this, If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. And from now on you know Him and have seen Him. You have seen the Father, the glory of the Father. And Philip said to Him, Lord, show us the Father and it is sufficient.
Now it's interesting, Peter, James, and John, they don't do that. They've already seen His glory at the transfiguration. But Philip says, just show us the Father, and that would be sufficient for us. Well, would it have been? Would that have been sufficient? Sure, sure it would have. If God were to appear to them as He did to Jacob or Moses or Ezekiel, we would have the same kind of life changing reaction that those men did.
If He were to appear to us, if the Father were to appear to us, in that sort of vision. Well, we would say, like Jacob, God is in this place. And I did not know it. If God were to appear to us as He did to Moses, we would take off our shoes, because we would know we were on holy ground. If He appeared to us as He did to Isaiah or Ezekiel, we would fall on our faces and say, Woe is me!
And if God were to appear to us as He did John in the book of Revelation, we, too, would cast our crowns before Him and fall down and worship Him. And even if Jesus were to appear to us as He appeared to Peter and John and James at the Transfiguration, we, too, would fall on our faces.
That's the only reaction when one comes and sees a vision of the presence. That would be sufficient. That would do the trick. But see this. If you don't see anything else, see this. That wasn't necessary for Philip, and it's not necessary for us. Keep reading verse 9. Jesus said to him, Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known me, Philip?
He who has seen me has seen the Father. So how can you say, show us the Father? Jesus isn't springing this on them. This is something that Jesus has been building up to all along. Jesus said, if you've seen me, you have seen the Father. And how is the Father revealed? How is the glory of God revealed? Well, it's about to be revealed in what Jesus is going to do on the cross.
The willingness to give for others is what our God is like. The willingness to give and suffer for the sake of others is at the heart of who our God is. He deserves service, and yet He serves. In John chapter 13, when Jesus is washing the apostles feet, just a chapter earlier from where we have been reading in John chapter 14, We see that Jesus does this, and in verse 12, He's going to make application.
So, when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, Do you know what I have done for you? You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say, Well, for so I am. That's what I am. If then your Lord and Teacher have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example that you should do as I have done to you.
That doesn't mean, all right, you know, we're going to start a line right over here, everybody take their shoes off, we're going to get some water buckets out, and we're going to wash everybody's feet. Wouldn't be wrong if we did that, but that's not really what he's saying here. What he's saying is we have to take the place of a servant, because our Master, our Lord, our Teacher, takes the place of a servant.
Verse 16, Most assuredly I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master. nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him, if you know these things, blessed are you, if you do them. You serve like I serve. And if I serve, Jesus says, as your Lord, as your teacher, that means you should serve too, because you're not greater than me.
Turn back to the beginning of John, to John chapter 1 and verse 18. John begins his book by laying this kind of groundwork. In John chapter 1 and verse 18, no one has ever seen God, the only God who is at the Father's side. He has made him known. How? Well, because he is God in verses 1 through 3. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him nothing was made that was made. Jesus is God and was God. And in verse 14 it's saying the same thing. And the Word, that is Jesus, became flesh and dwelt among us. And we beheld his, listen, His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
We saw His glory, and where did we see it? Well, we saw it in the miracles, and we saw it when He was teaching, and we saw it at the transfiguration. Yes, yes, and yes. But glory, that word, that term is used... of His death on the cross. Jesus Himself says in John chapter 12 and verse 23, Of His death on the cross, the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.
Ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, if you want to see a vision of the glory of God, look to the cross.
And even if He were transfigured before us,
That would be just a small taste compared to what we see him do in his sacrifice.
Now, that was difficult for people to accept then, just like it was difficult for us to accept now. People didn't get it in that great chapter, Isaiah 53, that talks about Jesus sacrifice. Remember how that chapter begins in verse 1 of Isaiah 53? Who has believed our report? Who would believe it if I were to tell you that we see the glory of God not in some grand throne scene.
Yes, we can see it there, but where we really see it, where you and I see Jesus and see the Father, where we see what God is like, is when we look and see Him hanging on a cross for our sins.
And that doesn't make sense. A suffering servant Messiah God? What? To the Jews, a stumbling block. To the Greeks, foolishness. But to those who are being saved, you and me, the power of God, the wisdom of God, and the glory of God. Isn't that the way God does things? He has all power and might and dominion and authority.
And yet He uses lowliness to accomplish His will. Jesus is the ultimate fulfillment of this approach. Yeah, you get a glimpse of His glory at the Transfiguration, but you really see it.
And as I was partaking of the Lord's Supper last Sunday, that's all I could think about. Now my whole life I've been wanting to see the transfiguration. And what I really needed to see was Jesus on the cross. Turn to one more passage, Philippians chapter 2 if you would. One more passage to consider and the lesson will be yours.
To chew on and make application in your life as you know you should.
In Philippians chapter 2 beginning in verse 1, Paul's point to the church in Philippi was a simple one. If you're going to be a follower of Jesus, this is the kind of mind, this is the kind of heart that you're going to have to have. Read with me, beginning in verse 1. Therefore, if there's any consolation in Christ, any comfort of love, any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
What mind is that? Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind. Let each esteem others better than himself, more important than himself. Let each of you look out, not only for his own interests, but also the interests of others. Why? Verse 5, Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God, in his divine state, with all of his glory, did not consider it robbery, be equal with God.
Not something I've got to hang on to with every last breath. All of this power and might and dominion. But he made himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men, and being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death on the cross.
If you're going to be a follower of Jesus, you have to be this way. You have to have this attitude, characterized.
By humility and holiness and, and frankly that's the opposite of society's expectations. That's the opposite of what, what people are looking for. So many people are looking their whole lives for power and authority and glory. And yet by climbing the ladder they're going in the wrong direction. The way to glory is down.
The way to glory is in service. And what does this tell us about God? We'll keep reading verses 9 through 11. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him. and given him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, those in heaven and those on earth and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
And let's, let's not misunderstand what Paul's saying here. It is not that Jesus was just so low and humble that he was rewarded for his sacrifice. You know, okay, you, you, you know, you... You came down to earth and you just bore it for a little while and so that's good. So now you can, you can run back up and you can be glorified again.
I don't think that's exactly what he's saying here. For lack of a better way of putting it, I would suggest that Jesus proved his deity. He proved his glory and his sacrificial loving spirit toward others. And this shows us his glory more. than even seeing Him transfigured into His spiritual appearance.
So what's the application to us? Uh, I hope you see this already, but let me just make it explicit. Glory awaits us as children of God. Amen? Uh, we sing songs about that all the time, about the glory that we're gonna have, the glory that we will share.
But that's not something that we've earned through great works. Instead, as His children, those who are supposed to be like Him, we have a rightful place next to Him when we have this mind of humility in us. That was also in Christ Jesus. Humble yourself. That's the road to heaven. For this is the mind of Christ, and this is the way to God.
And if you want to be like God, if you want to prove that you are His child, we have to have this mind in us that leads to this kind of life, of service and sacrifice. I think a lot of times we think about going to heaven and, And we go to heaven so that we will be like God, and it's true, in many ways that's the case.
We'll have these glorified bodies, there's no sin, there's, there's this innocence, we have perfect unity. We'll be unified even as, as God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit are. And it's true, when we go to heaven we're gonna be made like God, absolutely. But, isn't it also just as true that we need to be like God in order to go to heaven?
And to be like God. We need to imitate the way Jesus was glorified in his selfless, submitting sacrifice. One last time, do you ever wish you could see the glory of the Lord? Sometimes we want to look upon the shining face of glory, but Jesus wants us to stoop down and see the suffering servant of glory.
And be like him to imitate the way Jesus was really glorified by living that kind of lives ourselves. And if you're here this morning and you're not yet a Christian, oh, there is glory, but maybe not in the way you expect. Glory is found when we become like our, our master, our Lord, our teacher. When we submit ourselves to him, when we become servants, not just of him, but of all others, and in that service, we become like God.
And we fit, we fit in heaven because we are glorified in that way. Won't you be willing to come with that kind of heart, the heart and mind that was in Christ Jesus, and be baptized into Christ so that you might rise to walk in newness of life. And if you're already a Christian and you realize that you've been That your focus has not been on others or on God, but it's been on self.
And you need the help and prayers of the congregation. If you need something that, that you need to confess sin in your life, God is faithful and just to forgive you as we pray for you. And if you're subject to that gospel call this morning in any way, come now, why together we stand.