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The Transfiguration

Growing in Grace / Doug Agnew
The Truth Network Radio
September 4, 2022 7:00 pm

The Transfiguration

Growing in Grace / Doug Agnew

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September 4, 2022 7:00 pm

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Have your Bibles with you. Turn with me if you would to Mark chapter 9. We're going to be looking at verses 1 through 8. And he said to them, Truly I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death till they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power. And after six days, Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John, led them up a high mountain by themselves.

And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them. They appeared to them, Elijah with Moses. They were talking with Jesus, and Peter said to Jesus, Rabbi, it is good that we are here.

Let us make three tents, or tabernacles, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah. For he did not know what to say, for they were terrified. A cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, this is my beloved Son, listen to him. And suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them, but Jesus only.

Let's pray. Heavenly Father, in today's passage we have the privilege of peeking behind the veil, getting a glimpse of who Jesus really is. Father, I can't imagine the awe that Peter, James, and John must have felt when Jesus was transfigured before them. They actually saw the Shekinah glory of God radiating from his body.

It wasn't a vision, it was reality. The three disciples never got over it. Peter wrote about it in the last letter that he wrote while he was in prison. Just the remembrance of Jesus' transfiguration turned his life upside down. Surely this was on Peter's mind when they crucified him, and he said to the Roman soldiers, crucify me upside down, for I'm not worthy to be crucified like Jesus. May this passage affect our hearts like it affected Peter's. May it fill us with power, faith, and assurance that Jesus Christ is Lord. May Jesus be exalted in this sermon. I realize that my words can never come near what happened on that mountain, so please help me to get across at least a little of what Peter, James, and John beheld, for it is in the precious and holy name of Jesus that I pray. Amen.

You may be seated. In March, chapter 8, we came to the very pinnacle In March, chapter 8, we came to the very pinnacle of Mark's gospel. Jesus gathered the disciples together, and he asked them a question. Who do you say that I am? Peter stood up, looked directly at Jesus, pointed at his face, and said, you are the Christ, the Son of the Living God. This is, I believe, the greatest Christological statement in the entire Bible.

Peter was saying, we know who you are. You are our long-awaited Messiah. You are the Son of God. You are King of Kings and Lord of Lords. You are our Creator. You are our Sovereign. You are our Savior.

You are God. And then Jesus said, blessed art thou, Simon Barjona, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you but my Father which is in heaven. In other words, that the reason you understand, Peter, is because God sovereignly let you understand.

You did not call this up out of your own imagination, but God the Father gave this to you. When the disciples heard this, they were absolutely ecstatic. They believed that Jesus was, at this point in time, getting ready to bring in his earthly kingdom.

They were all excited about this because they believed that Jesus, at this point in time, was going to break the yoke of Roman oppression and he was going to take the power away from the religious leaders and that they were going to receive new political and religious power like they had never imagined before. And then Jesus shocked them and he said to them, I am not going to the throne now. I am going to the cross. I am going to be beaten. I am going to be brutally terrorized. I'm going to be spit upon. I'm going to be mocked.

I'm going to be laughed at. I'm going to die on the cross and then three days later I am going to be resurrected from the dead. The disciples were absolutely devastated.

Their emotions went from the top of the mountain all the way down to the bottom of the valley. And then Peter, who had just made this great confession, rebuked Jesus the Son of God and he said, no, no, no, Jesus. We're not going to let this happen.

Don't worry about that. The cross is not necessary. And Jesus has to say to Peter, get thee behind me, Satan. Your words reveal that you don't understand the gospel. Jesus gathered the other crowd around him and he gave them then the requirements of discipleship. He said this to them, if anyone comes after me let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me. And he who so ever would save his life will lose it and whoever will lose his life for my sake shall save it.

For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and to lose his own soul? Then Jesus turns back to the disciples and he says this in chapter 9 verse 1. And he said to them, truly I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power. There's been a lot of confusion about what Jesus meant and there's been confusion about it for the last two thousand years, really, as to what Jesus is really talking about here. Was he referring to the second coming? What was he saying that some of the disciples are going to be here alive on earth when Jesus actually returns a second time? We know that the disciples have all been dead for over 1900 years and Jesus hasn't returned yet, so that is certainly not what he was talking about. Others have thought, well maybe Jesus is referring to the great event that he prophesied that would take place in 70 AD when the temple and the city of Jerusalem would be destroyed.

And that did in fact happen. Titus of Rome came in and when Titus of Rome came in, he killed 2.2 million Jews and he absolutely leveled the city. The disciples pretty much in all had to take off out of the city. They went and they began to spread the gospel.

It went out into the four corners of the earth with speed like it had never gone before. Now that could have been what Jesus is talking about here because it was a very important event. Jesus prophesied that in Matthew 24 and Mark chapter 13 and Luke chapter 21, but I don't think that's what Jesus was talking about either.

I think that what Jesus had in mind is what we see taking place in these very next few verses. Only a few of the disciples saw it. It was the Transfiguration. The three disciples saw it.

Peter, James, and John. I want you to know the Transfiguration changed their lives. It strengthened their faith.

It increased their vision. It solidified their understanding that Jesus Christ was indeed the Son of God. With that said, let's look at the text and I've got four points that I want to share with you. Point one, the Lord's Transfiguration. Look with me at verses two and three. After six days, Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain by themselves.

He was transfigured before them and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them. Now, if you're a conscientious Bible student, then you may have looked over at what Luke said and then what Matthew and Mark has to say and you might have seen what looks like a contradiction. For Luke talks about eight days and Mark and Matthew say it's just six days. Well, is that a contradiction? Is that an error in Scripture?

No. What Luke was meaning was that when Jesus made the Proclamation, that was one day, and then when the Transfiguration actually took place, that was the last day and there were six days between that. So, once again, there is no contradiction or error in the Scripture. Well, Peter, James, and John went with Jesus up the mountain. These three are called the inner circle.

They are the disciples that I believe were most closely knit to the Lord Jesus Christ. They went up this mountain. What mountain was it? It was Mount Hermon. Mount Hermon is 9,000 feet tall. It has snow caps on it almost all year long.

And when the sun is shining at the right angle, there will be a particular shadow that goes 70 miles into Israel. I mean, that's a big mountain. Jesus and the disciples made that trek up the mountain. I'll guarantee you they were huffing and puffing by the time they got up there. But the Scripture says here that Jesus was transfigured before them. I want you to know I believe that's an understatement.

It's just I don't think they could say it powerfully enough. It kind of reminds me of Genesis chapter 1 in verse 16 that says this, God made two great lights, the greater light to rule the day, the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also.

I was reading that and I'm thinking, wow! You talk about an understatement. He made the stars also? Billions and billions of stars and thousands of galaxies, thousands of universes, some of the stars 100 times bigger than our sun itself. And this is a statement, oh yeah, yeah, made the stars also. Folks, it was simple to God because all He had to do was just say the Word and boom, the stars were there.

Here's what I believe is another understatement. Jesus was transfigured before them. Brothers and sisters, that is huge what happened.

If you and I had been there and if we had seen what was taking place here, I think it would have gotten to us. I don't think we would ever be the same again. I think we would fear God more, appreciate Jesus more, and hate sin more than we ever had before. Now the Greek word for transfigured is metamorphu and it's only found four times in the New Testament. It's found twice concerning the transfiguration and then it's found twice more when it's talking about the transformation of an unbeliever into a child of God and what God does in that transformation. 2 Corinthians chapter 3 verse 18 and then Romans chapter 12 verse 1 and 2. For I beseech you therefore brethren by the mercies of God that you present your body as a living sacrifice holy and acceptable unto God which is your reasonable service. Be not conformed to this world but be you transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. That word transformed is that metamorphu.

Same word that's used here. I can't say this powerfully enough, so I want you to picture it in your mind. Jesus stands there. The glory of God begins to radiate through his body. John MacArthur said the following, the brilliant glory of his divine nature blazed forth through the veil of humanity and his face became different and shone like the sun. In addition to Jesus face his garments became radiant and exceedingly white as no launder on earth can whiten them. Matthew notes that his garments became as white as light while Luke says they became white and gleaming which means to flash or gleam like lightning. It was that blazing glory that Peter, James, and John saw. Jesus had possessed essential glory from all of eternity but veiled it until this moment. His glory will be fully revealed to the whole world in the future when the sign of the son of man will appear in the sky and all the tribes of the earth will mourn and they will see the son of man coming in the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.

Can you just picture that? One minute Jesus is standing before you. He looks just like any other regular human being. He's about as tall as most men. He's got hair.

He's got a beard. He's wearing his clothes and then all of a sudden the glory of God begins to emanate from his body and begins to shine. This is not glory that descends down from heaven and comes upon him. This is glory that radiates through him and Jesus starts getting brighter and brighter and brighter until it's brighter than lightning, brighter than the noonday sun. Let me tell you, if these disciples had ever had doubts before about who Jesus was, those doubts are gone.

They understand his deity. Peter wrote his second letter just a few weeks before he was crucified, maybe just a few days. One of the things that he mentions in that last letter before his death is this glorious transfiguration. In 1 Peter chapter 1 verse 16 through 18 he said, 2 Peter chapter 1, he says this, For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. But we were eyewitnesses of his majesty, for when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was born to him by the majestic glory, this is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased. We ourselves heard this voice from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. Jesus had possessed heavenly glory from all of eternity, but when he came to this earth for those 33 years, he laid aside that glory.

Sometimes this is called in the canodic passage of the emptying. What did he empty himself of? Did he empty himself of his deity?

No. He has never ceased to be God. He emptied himself of the privilege of deity.

He emptied himself of his glory for those 33 years. The Apostle Paul said it this way in Philippians chapter 2, Let this mind be in you which is also in Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made of himself of no reputation, and made himself of no reputation, took upon himself the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God hath highly exalted him, and given him a name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow of things of heaven, of things of the earth, and of things under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. This was an event that had these disciples shouting until the day that they died.

Point two, the saints association. Look at verse four. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. The appearance of Elijah and Moses has raised some great questions. Some have said that Elijah and Moses were in their final glorified resurrected body.

I don't believe that. Over in 1 Corinthians chapter 15 verse 20, the scripture says this about Jesus, but in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. So Jesus was the first to experience a new physical glorified resurrected body. It was a body that was absolutely perfect. He could eat with that body. He could walk with that body. He could walk right through a wall with that body.

He could be here one second thousands of miles away. There were no limitations. That was the body he had. Jesus had the first physical glorified body. Now we know that Jesus raised some people from the dead, didn't he? He raised the son of the widow of name from the dead.

In just a few months he's going to raise Lazarus from the dead. But what kind of resurrection was that? Their bodies, physical bodies, were dead, lying there on the ground dead, and Jesus brought life into those same dead bodies, and they came to life.

But you know what? They died again. So what kind of body did Moses and Elijah have? I believe that it was a spiritual body. It was functional, and it was recognizable, but it was nothing like what's going to come and what they've got coming at the resurrection. It was nothing as great as Jesus' glorified resurrected body.

It was nothing as great as our body is going to be when Christ returns, and we are resurrected from the dead. So to understand this, I want to back this up with a passage of Scripture in Luke chapter 16. Luke chapter 16, we read the story of the rich man and Lazarus, and I don't believe that's a parable because Jesus didn't tell or use actual names in parables, but then I believe that this is a true story. The rich man died, and Lazarus died. The rich man went to the torment side of Sheol, which is called hell.

There was a gulf fixed between the two. It was the other side, and that's called Abraham's bosom or paradise. The rich man went into the hell side of Sheol, and the Scripture refers to his body parts, his fingers, his eyes, his tongue.

And then he spoke to Father Abraham that was across the gulf, and when he spoke to him, he used his mouth and he used vocal cords. I want you to know this is not the rich man's final state. The rich man is still in hell today, and he's in a spiritual type of body, but the day is coming when there's going to be a resurrection from both the just and the unjust. He is going to receive a physical body, a body that will be eternal, a body that will never die, a body that can experience torment and and horror and memory forever and ever and ever.

This is not his final state, not in hell right now, but when he will be thrown into the burning lake of fire, he will have a different body, a physical body. What about us? What about believers? What will we be like when we die?

If you were to die today and you were to go to heaven, what would you be like? I believe that you would have a spiritual body. It would be functional, it would be recognizable, but nothing as great as what you're going to have at the resurrection of the just in the last day. So how important is that?

I think it's tremendously, tremendously important. What about believers who die? We will have that kind of spiritual body. 2 Corinthians 5-8 says to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. So what state are we in when we enter God's presence? It's a spiritual state, a spiritual state, and our physical body is going to die, go back to dust, but we're going to be raised spiritually to be with Him.

We go there immediately. I don't think it's like a ghost, though. I think when we go and I see my dad there in heaven, I'm going to recognize him as Dutch Agnew. He's going to recognize me as Doug Agnew, and it's going to be exciting.

Once again, that's not our final state. What we've got coming at the resurrection is going to be even much greater than that. So I believe that Moses and Elijah appeared to Jesus and to Peter, James, and John in a recognizable spiritual body. So how did Peter and John and James know who they were?

They had never met them before. How did they know who they were? I think Jesus may have introduced Moses and Elijah to Peter, James, and John. Now in Luke's Gospel, the Scripture provides more detail for us. We are told that they talked to Jesus about His death. They talked to Jesus. Wow, can you imagine that? These two great Old Testament prophets come back and they start talking to Jesus about what He's got to expect in His crucifixion.

I can imagine that conversation. Jesus, this is going to be the toughest thing that anyone on the face of the earth has ever had to deal with. There have been people who have died and there have been many of God's people have suffered and they've even been martyred, but your death is not going to be like that, Jesus. Your death is going to be, first of all, a substitutionary atonement.

You're going to die as the substitute for your people. You're going to die in order that you might give them your righteousness and take their sin, that you might give them your heaven and take their hell, that you might give them your joy and take their misery. Then secondly, your death will be a propitiation. You will die in order to appease the wrath of God against them. Thirdly, it will be a redemption. You will die in order to ransom them out of the slave market of sin.

And then fourth, it will be a reconciliation. Your death, the shedding of your blood, will reconcile a holy God to a sinful man. Folks, I have to believe that the disciples heard that conversation and they knew that Moses and Elijah were talking to Jesus about what was going to happen to Him on the cross.

I think that blows my mind to even think about it. Once again, let me give you a MacArthur quote. "...There was no lawgiver like Moses and no prophet comparable to Elijah. They are the most reliable possible witnesses to Christ's suffering and glory. Nothing could have brought the apostles more assurance and confidence that Jesus's death fulfilled God's purpose than hearing it from Moses and Elijah."

All right, point three, a fearful interruption. Look at verse five and six. "...Peter said to Jesus, Rabbi, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah. For he did not know what to say, for they were terrified. Never lost for words, so Peter jumped up and he interrupted the conversation between the Son of God and two great Old Testament prophets."

Now think about that. If the Lord Jesus Christ was standing right in front of you, He began to emanate the glory of God, and then Moses and Elijah, two great prophets of God, they all of a sudden appeared with Him. Do you think you might want to break in their conversation, tell them what to do? I don't think I'd want to do that, but this is Peter. And Peter was being kind. He was offering his service. He said, Lord, let me make three tabernacles, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.

That was being polite, but let me tell you something, it was also being cunning. Why did Peter say that? Once again, Peter doesn't like what he's hearing. What was Jesus, Moses, and Elijah talking about? They were talking about Jesus' upcoming crucifixion.

Peter had already expressed his opinion to Jesus about this. He said, Jesus, don't say that. We don't want to hear about this cross stuff. We will protect you. We'll keep you from being killed.

We won't let the Roman soldiers get you. We'll keep you from this, Jesus. What did Jesus do? Jesus called him Satan, adversary. And he said, Peter, you're trying to hinder the gospel. He said, if I don't go to the cross, if I don't do that, then nobody will be able to go to heaven.

If I do not shed my blood, then everybody will have to suffer their own hell for themselves. Luke tells us that Peter did not realize what he was saying. The transfiguration took place in the month Tishri during the time of the Feast of the Tabernacles, and while that was going on, it represented or commemorated something very special.

And what was that? That was the exodus when God delivered the children of Israel out of their bondage of slavery in Egypt. So Peter's offer to make three tabernacles for them was an attempt to get them to stay here on earth so that Elijah and Moses could help Jesus to set up the kingdom of God now. That's what he wanted.

That's what Peter wanted. Moses had led the children of Israel out of its bondage in Egypt. He had done that so that the kingdom of God could be set up in Israel.

That's why he did it. And what did Elijah do? Elijah was instrumental in using a contest between Baal and God. He brought that contest about in order that God might send down fire from heaven and destroy a sacrifice, and then when he did that, then everybody would know that God was truly God.

And then he went on to kill 450 prophets of Baal. So Peter hopes that these two men, Moses and Elijah, have come to help Jesus set up his kingdom, a kingdom now. And folks, this was not the spiritual kingdom that Jesus is going to set up, called the church. What Peter's talking about is a physical kingdom in Israel. But Peter was dead wrong. The kingdom that Elijah and Moses were talking to Jesus about was not going to be won by the sword.

It was going to be won by the cross. So once again, Peter is in error. His heart was filled with opposition to Jesus going to the cross.

You know, what does I think about it? And I try to put myself in Peter's place. I can't hardly blame him. Peter looked at this situation and he said, Jesus means everything to me. Nobody has ever loved me like Jesus. Jesus taught me the truth of God's Word. He taught me what the will of God is for my life. He healed my mother-in-law.

Nobody has ever loved me like Jesus. I'm sure Peter was thinking, I don't want to see him suffer. I don't want to see him die. I don't want to see him go to the cross.

I can't hardly blame him. Point four, a sovereign manifestation. Verse 7 through 8. And a cloud overshadowed them and a voice came out of the cloud. This is my beloved son.

Listen to him. And suddenly looking around they no longer saw anyone with them but Jesus only. The cloud that overshadowed them is the same cloud that led the children of Israel out of when they were going in the wilderness from one place to the next. It was that cloud that guided them. This is the same cloud on the Day of Atonement one time a year that would come into the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle and that would hover between the wings of the cherubim that was on the mercy seat on the Ark of the Covenant that would assure the people of Israel that their sins had been forgiven for that year. That cloud is called the Shekinah Glory, the bright shining cloud of God.

And what a cloud and glorious cloud it was. And folks, when God speaks from heaven, He speaks from the Shekinah Glory cloud. And what does He say? This is my beloved son.

Listen to him. And the disciples look and they see Jesus standing there, Moses and Elijah. They blink their eyes and all of a sudden Moses and Elijah are completely gone. They just disappeared and there is Jesus and Jesus only. What was Jesus talking about that God told the disciples to listen to? He was talking about the cross. He was talking about his crucifixion. John was one of those disciples. Did John get it?

Well, I tell you what, if he didn't get it all at this point in time, he sure got it later. He wrote one of the greatest verses that we have in the entire Bible, John 3 16. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 1, verse 18, For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness, but in us who are being saved it is the power of God. And then Peter's in prison, maybe just days before they crucify him upside down. And he thinks back to this time and he says this, For we are not saved with perishable things like silver and gold, but we have been saved by the precious blood of Jesus. Let me ask you something, what had Peter learned?

I think this is what Peter had learned. It's all about the cross. Folks, have you been to the cross? Have you trusted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? Have you turned from your sin, repented, and put your faith in Jesus Christ and Him alone, what He did for you by dying for you on the cross, by being resurrected from the dead?

If not, why not? Let's pray. Lord, we know why you allowed the inner circle, Peter, James, and John, to behold your glory on the Mount of Transfiguration. You did it because you loved them, but you also were giving them a tool for ministry. The more we beheld your glory, the deeper will be our motivation to serve you. So my prayer this morning is this, show us your glory that we might be transformed. For it's in the precious and holy name of Jesus that I pray, amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-02 11:28:02 / 2023-03-02 11:39:53 / 12

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