Monday, 7 August 2017

We were eyewitnesses of his majesty

The Transfiguration.
Daniel 7: 9-10, 13-14 (page 744 in our pew Bibles). This Apocalyptic book here describes God the Father (the ancient of days) and one like a "son of man" (human being) who will be given an everlasting indestructible kingdom. Christians believe this one "like the son of man" is Jesus Christ and  in fact "Son of man" was Jesus' favourite way of referring to himself, relating back to the prophet Daniel.  
2 Peter 1:16-19 (page 1018 in our pew Bibles) Saint Peter confirms that he bore witness to the event on the "Holy mountain" and doesn't follow "cleverly devised myths". 
Luke 9: 28-36 (page 867 in our pew Bibles) A vision or miracle that Jesus doesn't perform but this happens to Jesus. In this Epiphany the reality of Jesus' being is revealed. He is the son of man to whom all dominion is given by God the Father.

Just after Christmas we have the season called Epiphany – a series of revelations of just who this person Jesus actually is and we normally major on the Baptism of Jesus or the visit of the Magi, but here today we have the most striking revelation of who Jesus is in the episode called the Transfiguration.

On a mountain called Holy by Peter – Made holy by what he saw happen there – Jesus was transfigured before his very eyes.

He witnessed Jesus’ face altered and his clothes became a dazzling white, and alongside him stood Elijah and Moses – representing the law and the prophets – the entire Jewish religion – consulting with Jesus and talking about what he was about to accomplish in Jerusalem – a willing sacrifice for the sins of the whole world to bring all things back to God which the created order had abandoned.

Years later, referring to that incident, Peter writes that he doesn’t follow any cleverly devised myths about Jesus – he was an eyewitness to what actually happened on that Mountain.

Further to what I’ve already described on that Holy Mountain, God Himself spoke out of a cloud and repeated the words God spoke at Jesus’ baptism “This is my beloved son, with whom I am well pleased”.

God almighty, the ancient of days, Jesus’ Father, tells us exactly who Jesus is and why we should listen to him.
Jesus is the Messiah, the anointed one, the one prophesied in Daniel, the one like a son of man in whom all dominion is to be vested., who is given an everlasting kingdom that will never die and cannot be destroyed.

Jesus’ worth, his gravity and greatness, which in the Bible is called his GLORY was on that Holy Mountain revealed.

The significance of this event cannot be exaggerated.

That Jesus professed the self-awareness that this was his identity and mission is made clear in that Jesus’ favourite way of referring to himself is the “Son of man” – not a chance phrase, but a direct reference to the prophesy in Daniel that speaks of the one like a son of man that God gives this dominion.

Jesus knew he was the son of man who through the Father’s words is also son of God who would accomplish all things for God.

What is the significance for all of this for us?

With apologies to those for whom the significance is obvious I will spell it out. 

Jesus is not just a great moral teacher, or a great religious leader amongst many others, as the liberal relativists would have us believe,

The gospel is that Jesus is the end of all religion and is God incarnate. “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself” as Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:19.

In case it has escaped your attention, every single one of us is a part of the world, the entire created order, so Jesus has ultimate significance for every single one of us!

All authority has been given to Jesus, so our relationship with Him really matters. Our past present and future is bound up with who Jesus is, and everyone really knowing who Jesus is and what he has done for them.

The whole of the Hebrew scriptures are basically a record of God’s promises made to mankind that we will be eventually redeemed, when all things will be put right, in a future where there shall be no more pain, sorrow or death. In a glorious future where Heaven and earth are swept away and heaven and earth become one and life goes on for ever where each chapter of life is more glorious that the last.

A future beyond our comprehension, but a future that we can glimpse from time to time through religious experiences made possible by the Holy Spirit.

In Jesus those promises are all fulfilled.

As Peter said this morning we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which we will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, and the morning star rises in our hearts, for the prophesy written by Daniel did not come from his own heart but was put there by the holy Spirit of God.

This truth was realised on that Holy Mountain. As Thomas came to realise after the resurrection we can say with him. “My Lord and my God”.


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