, Sermon Notes, 15 January 2023 Anno Domini, the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
‘And after six days Jesus taketh with Him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and He was transfigured before them. 3. And His raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them. 4. And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus. 5. And Peter answered and said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for Thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. 6. For he wist not what to say; for they were sore afraid. 7. And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is My beloved Son: hear Him. 8. And suddenly, when they had looked round about,
they saw no man any more, save Jesus only with themselves. 9. And as they came down from the mountain, He charged them that they should tell no man what things they had seen, till the Son of Man were risen from the dead. 10. And they kept that saying with themselves, questioning one with another what the rising from the dead should mean. 11. And they asked Him, saying, Why say the scribes that Elias must first come? 12. And He answered and told them, Elias verily cometh first, and restoreth all things; and how it is written of the Son of Man, that He must suffer many things, and be set at nought. 13. But I say unto you, That Elias is indeed come, and they have done unto him whatsoever they listed, as it is written of him.’. Mark 9:2-13
This event follows a stern warning by Christ to Peter after Jesus announces His coming crucifixion
Mark 8 – 31 And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and ofthe chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 And he spake that saying openly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him. 33 But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.
We observe a change in the demeanor of Jesus as He approaches His moment of suffering. His seeking the seclusion of the hills, attended only by the innermost group of the faithful three, is a touching token of the strain to which that week had subjected Him.
Look at how Peter’s heart must have filled with thankfulness that, notwithstanding the stern rebuke, he was taken with the other two!
There are three stages we can observe in the complex incident which we call the Transfiguration —
1) the change in Jesus’ appearance,
2) the colloquy with Moses and Elijah,
3) and the voice from the cloud.
Luke, who has frequent references to Jesus’ prayers, tells us that the
change in our Lord’s countenance and raiment took place ‘as He prayed’ Luke 9:29 – And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering.
So far as we know, this was the only time when mortal eyes saw Him absorbed in communion with the Father.
It was only after witnessing this great event wrought by prayer did the Apostles ask Him to teach them to pray at Luke 11:1
And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples
Jesus was transformed and glowing with the Glory of God. Perhaps the glory hidden deep in His soul was made to come to the surface during His earnest prayer and Communion with the Father.
This manifestation was made to appear as a testimony of strength to the apostles, and to us. Faith requires some spiritual evidence in truth, else how could we know and believe?
The two men with whom Jesus taught are noteworthy:
- Moses, who had died on Mt Nebo of Pisgah and who was the founder of the Hebrew nation and Law, and
- Elijah who had never died but was translated by a chariot of fire and was the restorer of the Hebrew Law.
These two were now gathered about the whole object of their purpose and being, the fulfillment of all the Law and the prophets, the Person of Jesus Christ.
He communed with these two great Old Testament prophets, just as He communes with us in our studies.
Remember that Moses was not allowed to enter the Promised Land because of his anger. He saw it from Mt Nebo, but could not cross over Jordan waters.
But just look at the greater land of promise to which Moses went!
It is also noteworthy that three glorious appearances occurred on the Mt of Transfiguration, and that there were three on earth to witness this appearance – James, Peter, and John.
It reminds us of the reference in 1st John 5:
7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. 8 And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. 9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son.
I believe there is a great mystery buried in this passage of 1 John that escapes our complete understanding at present.
But what was taught by this appearing of the three together?
- And Peter answered and said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for Thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. 6. For he wist not what to say; for they were sore afraid. 7. And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is My
beloved Son: hear Him.
Trust no man but God – no preacher, no deacon, no best friend – only God for the salvation of your precious souls.
The third observance was also met for the disciples and for us.
This third part of the incident, the appearance of the cloud and the voice from it, was for the disciples. Luke tells us that it was a ‘bright’ cloud, and yet it ‘over shadowed them.’ That sets us on the right track and indicates that we are to think of the cloud of glory,
This was the cloud that protected the children of Israel from Pharoah’s army, and followed them as a pillar of cloud by day, and fire by night
Ex 13: 21 And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: 22 He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, frombefore the people.
We are to think of the cloud of glory, which was the visible token of
the divine presence, the cloud which shone lambent between the cherubim, the cloud which at last’ received Him out of their sight.’
Remember, Christ was received into a cloud at His ascending up into heaven, and He shall return in a great cloud of glory:
At His going up into Heaven –
Acts 1 6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? 7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. 8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. 9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; 11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
Luke 21:25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; 26 Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. 27 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. AND SO WILL YOU! AMEN!