A sermon idea based on Matthew 17:1-9.
Matthew 17:1-9 NRSV
 Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves.  And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white.  Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him.  Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”  While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!”  When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear.  But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Get up and do not be afraid.”  And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone.  As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, “Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”
The relevant topic I would be addressing, based on this text…
The most defining moments of our lives are when we have our identity as God’s children reaffirmed. Never forget to look back on these moments, especially in the hard and heavy seasons of life.
The heart of the message, a potential outline, key truths to share, special notes for interpreting the text, etc.
The story of the Mount of Transfiguration can be unpacked and preached from two different and equally valid angles. The first is to place the focus and emphasis on the identity of Jesus Christ, affirmed here by the voice of the Father and the presence of Moses and Elijah.
Another angle is present in the story, however, that also shouldn’t be missed. In addition to the glimpse of glory experienced by Peter, James, and John, there is also a message in Jesus’ invitation to the three of them to be present for this heavenly unveiling.
Why did Jesus choose to include them? Was it for the sake of their preaching and teaching? No, because Jesus even told them to keep quiet about it.
I believe Jesus wanted them present on the Mount of Transfiguration so that they could see this vital moment in the life of their friend, Jesus, when the Father affirmed his Son’s identity and expressed pride and satisfaction in their relationship.
It wouldn’t be long now until these three disciples endured a tremendous struggle in their faith. They would watch their Rabbi be arrested and crucified and the faith of each would be tested in uniquely individual ways.
In the painful days ahead, they would need to know two things:
- The identity of Jesus – that he is, indeed, God’s saving Son.
- Their own identity as children of the Father and members of Jesus’ eternal family.
I’ve found that during life’s most trying and confusing times, those are the two things I need to come back to again and again. I need to remember that Jesus Christ is the saving Son of God and that I have been adopted into God’s family as well.
The big call-to-action in the message…
Who do you think you are? Let me remind you.
You are created in God’s image, saved by Christ’s death and resurrection, adopted into God’s own forever family, and sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.
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About the Cover Art: Photo by Steve Carter on Unsplash.
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