2 Peter 1:16-21
In the name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
Now in His word, His testimony about Himself, God tells us that He created the first man Adam (the Hebrew word for man is “Adam”) on the 6th day. All of mankind was redeemed by the death of the 2nd Adam on the 6th day. And on the 6th day after Peter confessed Jesus to be the Christ son of living God, Jesus takes Peter, James, and John up on a mountain to show them that this is in fact true.
God is in the details. Details in His Word that nicely fit together; details that teach us and reveal to us that He is indeed the Christ the Son of the living God. But you will only see Him in these details and cling to these details in faith if the Father gives you the gift of faith and with it eternal life.
Now immediately after Peter confesses that Jesus is God Jesus reveals to the disciples that He must suffer and die. Peter responds saying, “NEVER!” To which Jesus who had just praised Peter and said the Father had given him this faith says, “Get behind me Satan!” For it is Satan’s work to cover up the cross, to keep Jesus from it, and to keep the cross from you! He will use whatever craft and cunning he can to keep you from Jesus’ cross, even and including staying on a mountain top where the Lord reveals amazing, important things.
but why were Moses and Elijah there with Jesus? They are prominent figures in the Old Testament, leading prophets. But why them? Because of the cross which Peter denied. Moses and Elijah are unique amongst the prophets. Moses died and was buried by God. Elijah never died. Instead, he was carried to heaven in a flaming chariot. These two men represent for us death and resurrection. Both are with God and have seen His glory face to face in heaven. But also when Moses went up on the mountainside to receive the Ten Commandments his face glowed with the light of God. He was a reflector of God’s salvation. He was a preacher of Christ’s death and resurrection as was Elijah.
The Transfiguration is about Jesus being revealed as the true God. It is about His body being changed as ours will be in the resurrection. This only happens for any of us through cross of Christ. Therefore the devil will keep you from the cross by any means possible. He will even use the glory of God and a lust in your heart for it rather than for God’s salvation to keep you from God’s salvation.
St. Peter later says, “but despite having seen all this we have something more sure: the prophetic word; the word spoken by the Son of God; the word written down by the prophets in ages before and by the apostles in the present age; the word of God which contains His glory, which imparts the grace and mercy of the cross of Christ Jesus to you.
God is in the details. God hides Himself behind the simple things of life. This doesn’t mean go out and look for God in the little details, and in the random circumstances of life. Of course, He is the source of all good things that happen to you, so thank Him for all. But what I mean is though they heard God Father’s voice, the big flashy, impressive, miraculous voice; though they saw the shining glory of God that had filled the temple of old; what they clung to were the details, the Word of God. For all of the great flashy stuff is not what gives them assurance. It is not what gives them confidence. In fact, the glory they saw terrified them. It brought to them an intrinsic knowledge of their sinfulness as they stood before a holy God. They fell to the ground. The cloud had to hide Him and His glorious face. Just like in Moses’ day when His face would shine with the glory of God and the people saw it they were terrified by it asked him to cover it with a veil. This is why God has to hide Himself. For His unveiled glory is not what we need.
But now since Christ has revealed Himself as God sent to save you, this is God’s glory. Now since the apostles have witnessed this the veil that hides God from us has been torn away. God is in the details; the details of the apostle’s witness; the details of a simple statements from Jesus like, “Rise and have no fear;” the detail of His presence with them; God’s presence with them a man, in the person of Christ. His presence with them on man’s day (the 6th day) being with them in a way that gives them no fear. For all the prophets before Jesus proclaimed His 6th day death and redemption. All the apostles since Him have declared it too. It is more sure than any mystical experience, or liver shiver which may in fact only be a random coincidence, or that funky pizza you ate, or a product of your own emotions or over active imagination. What is more sure than all of those things we feebly cling to in order to justify our faith is His Word which gave us our faith in first place.
His word pacifies our fears, for He is God. He has conquered all you fear. And He is with you always. His Word conquers our old evil foe of death and its dreadful fear that has cast a pall over all the world so that the world is constantly trying to undo death, or ignore it, or pretend it doesn’t exist. His Word has torn away the veil of unbelief for you and given you a view through Peter, James and John of Christ’s Transfiguration, His crucifixion redemption, and His resurrection victory.
God is in the details: the details of His apostles and prophets words.
In +Jesus’ name, Amen.
---Pastor David Haberstock
Epiphany Lutheran Church
Thunder Bay, ON