Randall Caselman

Bella Vista Church of Christ

11/12/2017 A.M.

 

A MOUNTAIN TOP Experience

Come See Jesus As He Really Is

Matthew 17. 1-8… Mark 9.2-8... Luke 9.28-36… John 1.14… 2 Peter 1.16-18

 

Go with me to what is believed to be Mount Tabor... Or possibly Mount Hermon…We have just heard Peter make his confession... You are the Messiah... The Son of God.

 

The Synoptic writers tell us that a week later Jesus chooses... Peter... James...John... to accompany Him to the top of a high mountain... Luke says they’re going there to pray.

 

Let’s join the four as they climb...

They stop at a quiet place to pray.

They’re exhausted.

They put their hands on their knees…

Their lungs are gasping for air.

One by one… They slump to the ground.

 

Once they get their breath… They look up to see an unbelievable panorama before them. As the sun sets... They’re looking down on the clouds… Every cloud is flooded with an orange and golden hue.

• To the west… The sun-kissed plains of the Promised Land.

• To the east… The blue slate of the Mediterranean.

• To the south… The watered lushness of the Jordan Valley.

 

Standing there... They feel as if they are halfway to heaven…

• There… There’s no teeming crowd pulling at Jesus… Begging Him to heal them…

• No torrent of controversy from the Jewish officials…

Just a peaceful quiet that moves the soul.

 

As Peter, James and John take in the view… Jesus slips off to pray… And the three… Set down to rest… They drift off to sleep.

 

What awoke the three from their sleep… We don’t know… But when they do… They see a never before sight... Jesus is... Transfigured… Changed… Metamorphosed before them.

 

They rub their eyes... They squint… Trying to adjust to the bright light surrounding Jesus.

• His face was like the sun…

• His clothes became as white as light…

• Luke says like lighting.

 

They jump to their feet in both fear and bewilderment…

• Is it a dream?

• A vision?

• A hallucination brought on by the altitude and fatigue?

 

As they consider the options… They not only see the light… They feel it… They know this is not... A dream… Vision… Or hallucination.

 

It’s real!!... The rocks… The ground around them… The vegetation… Have been washed of its color… Mark says… bleached of all color. Then it registers with them… They’re not seeing the human Jesus… But the glory of God.

 

John may have had this event in mind when he wrote… The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We’ve seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father.

 

Peter wrote… We were eye-witnesses of...  his Glory...His Majesty... We heard the Father God say... “This is my Son. We heard the voice when we were with Jesus on the sacred mountain.

 

Then something else amazing happened... Two others joined them... Just materialized before their eyes… Moses and Elijah... They begin talking with Jesus. Peter, James and John listened… The three were talking about Jesus’ departure.

 

Really...There are no words to describe the moment… Mark says… in their fear... In their ANXIOUSNESS… Peter blurts out… Lord…It is good for us to be here… Let us build three booths… Three shelters… Three tabernacles... One for you… One for Moses… One for Elijah.

 

Just that quick… While he was yet speaking… A bright cloud enveloped them…A thundering voice from the cloud interrupted... Saying… This is My Son… Whom I love…With Him I am well pleased… Listen to Him.

 

I don’t know what is was… But there was something in the voice that… When the disciples heard this… They fell to the ground terrified.

 

But Jesus came and touched them… Saying… Don’t be afraid.

And when they looked up…

• Moses and Elijah were gone…

• The cloud was gone…

• The shining glory... His majesty...The brightness of Jesus’ divinity... Was gone…

And the human Jesus is standing before them.

 

What an... exciting…MovingSoul-STIRRING... Event in the life of Jesus… It leaves us wondering… We have questions…

 

What was this about?... Why was this event recorded by all three synoptics?

What can we learn about being the people and person

God wants us to be?

 

First…We learn that… Great spiritual moments… Great spiritual events… Come to those who desire them.

Why...Peter… James… And John?

Why do these three men seem to get to be in on all the great events in the ministry of Jesus?

   • They were privileged to be in the room when Jairus’ daughter was raised from the dead.

   • They were in the inner circle in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Why them… Why not others?

 

I don’t have the answer to this except that the choice is ours to make.

As Bible students… We know that God is no respecter of persons.

 

Jude says…God’s grace has appeared to all men…Not to just a few. God doesn’t make the choice as to who comes to Him… Or how committed we are to Him… We do…It’s our choice!... Spirituality is our choice!

 

Do you know why John Shepherd… Byran Busbee… Phil Ward… Catch more and bigger fish than you and I do?... Because they fish… Why John Shepherd kills a deer each season?... Because he hunts.

 

Do you know why Curt and Janice have exciting stories to share about places they go?... Because they made the trip.

 

Why is Steven Ashcraft so excited about Mission work… Because that’s his life.

 

Listen to me church... If we want to experience great spiritual moments

• We must want them, desire them… Love God and things Godly… With all our heart.

• If we want to be like Jesus… If we want to have a Jesus heart… We must get to know Him.

• We must go where they are… All spiritual blessings are in Christ.

 

Are we doing Christ things?... We can’t receive spiritual blessings unless we’re doing… Spiritual things… Spiritual work.

 

For instance… Each of the Beatitudes have a blessing attached… But that blessing is not ours until we engage the attitude.

 

So...The question becomes…

• Do we want to see God?

• Do we want to know Jesus?

• Do we want to sense His presence in our lives daily?

• Do we want to experience great spiritual moments more than anything else in life?

• Is our heart focused upon... this world… Or… His world.

 

Church… We are… We are... What we choose to be.

And we experience blessings in the realm… That is most important to us… AMEN?

 

Secondly…Sometimes God changes our ENVIRONMENT…Our SURROUNDINGS.

Jesus took... Peter… James… and John… out of their current circumstances…

Matthew says… He took them to a high mountain by themselves.

Our King James says… He led them to a high mountain apart.

And there… they saw God.

• Sometimes we can’t see God because of what’s going on around us.

• Sometimes we can’t see Him because we’re keeping the wrong company.

• Sometimes this world and the things of this world blind us.

• We can’t enjoy a great Spiritual event…Because we are distracted by our current situation or circumstance.

 

MAYBE… JUST MAYBE… GOD NEEDS TO CHANGE OUR ENVIRONMENT…

• Has God ever changed your circumstance and situation… Like taking away a business so we can focus on God?

 

• Like bringing us to our knees to the point no one can help… And we know that if there is any help… If we do get out of this situation… That help has to come from God.

 

• John 14 is one of these moments… The life of… Peter… James… and John is about to tumble in… Three and a half years invested in this possible Messiah has bankrupted them… Jesus says… Let not your heart be troubled… Have faith in Me and the Father… I will change your environment in ways you never dreamed.

 

Here it is church… We must stop thinking that God no longer works in our life…

• He is active in mine and yours…

• We are what we allow Him to make…

• Can I say that again… We each are just what we allow God to make… Nothing more and nothing less.

 

Listen to this same Peter… Rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith… like gold in a refiner’s fire… May be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls… Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.

 

Then hear James… Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything…Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

 

Indeed…Sometimes God chooses to change or rearrange our environment…Circumstances… Situation… In hopes that we will…

• see Him…

• Trust Him…

• Let Him work.

Perhaps God is rearranging our environment even now for this very reason.

Will we see God at work in our lives?... I pray we do... For He is!!

 

This narrative gives us confidence in life after life.

Amazing isn’t it that…

• Moses had been dead for fifteen hundred years…

• Elijah was caught up into heaven in a fiery chariot almost nine hundred years previous…

Yet there they are… Standing before... Peter… James… John… Talking with Jesus.

And here’s a neat thought... they were IMMANENTLY recognizable Without any prompting.

 

Think about this...

• Perhaps Moses represented those who had died… And yet… Were still very much alive... Death is not annihilation... The dead are alive somewhere… We will live forever!

 

• Perhaps Elijah represents those who will be caught up to meet Jesus in the air at the end of time.

 

You remember Elijah didn’t experience death... But was caught up in a Fiery Chariot.

 

Paul spoke of these two groups in Thessalonians… We believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him… For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive… will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

 

This incident assures us that we will recognize one another in Heaven.

When Peter awoke from his sleep… Without any introductions… He knew who was standing before him… He knew Moses and Elijah as well as he knew Jesus.

I don’t know how he did this… He just did.

 

We have some in this church that were sitting right beside us… And now they are gone… But this event teaches us that they are alive today… More alive today than they ever have been. And one day soon… One day soon… We will see them and know them.

 

The transfiguration speaks to us of authority.

While Peter was still speaking… A voice interrupted saying… This is My Son… Listen to Him. God interrupts saying… My son is now the authority in your life…Listen to Him.

• Moses represented... The Law... The Commandments From Sinai...

• Elijah represented the words of the Prophets.

The Jews of Jesus’ day lived by the Law and the Prophets... Their Bible was divided into the Law and Prophets.

But God says... No more... Not any longer... The authority in your life is My Son... Jesus.

 

It was Jesus who said… All authority has  been given to Me in Heaven and on earth… I am the way... I am the truth... I am the life… No one comes to the Father except by Me… Through Me… If you love Me…You will keep My commandments.

 

We gotta ask this morning... Who is the authority in our life… Yours and mine today?... Is it Jesus?... It had better be!... Amen?

 

Then finally… The transfiguration speaks to us of PEACE.

At the end of this narrative… Jesus touches the three… Saying… DON’T BE AFRAID!

• Folk… When we see Jesus as He really is…

• When we submit to His authority…

• When we are willing to be... transformed…Transfigured… Changed… people, peace and confidence will flow over us.

 

In John chapter 14… Jesus comes and touches us this morning with these words… Let not your heart be troubled… You believe in God… Believe in Me also… In My father’s house are many mansions… I go to prepare one for you… And if I go…I will come again… So that where I am… There you may be also… My peace I give you… Not this world’s peace… My peace… Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

 

This transfiguring event is reminiscent of an Old Testament Narrative in the life of Elisha. You remember the King of Aram sends troops to capture Elisha at Dalton. Elisha’s servant sees these troops saying... Oh my lord!... What shall we do?? Elisha said... Don’t be afraid... Open your eyes... Those who are with us are more than those who are with them... The servants’ eyes were opened and he sees the hills full of fiery horses and chariots surrounding Elisha.

 

You see church... These three Apostles needed their eyes opened... They needed to see Jesus as He really was... The Son of the Sovereign Father God of the universe… Because one day soon they would watch Him die on a cross as a common criminal.

 

Question...

• Do we need our eyes opened?

• Do we need to see Jesus and God... As they really are?

 

You remember a similar incident occurred in the life of Isaiah... He came to the Temple seeking advice on what to do for Israel... King Uzziah had died.

 

He’s given a glimpse of God’s Sovereignty... Seated high on the throne... Almighty and lifted up... This sighting caused Isaiah to fall on his face in confession and repentance.

• Do we see God this morning?...  Do we see Jesus?...

• Do we see their absolute sovereign nature?...  Do we see their authority?

• Do we seek the peace they can give us thorough forgiveness?... And the promise of Heaven?

 

Do you want the blessings of this Mountain-top experience… This peace?... Then listen to Jesus… Submit to His authority… answer his invitation…

 

• Come to me all you that labor and are heavy laden... And I will give you rest... Peace for your soul... For we are children of God by faith… For as many as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ… Been clothed with Christ.

 

If we confessour sins… He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness… If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin.

 

Turn your eyes upon Jesus…

Look full in His wonderful face…

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim…

In the light of His glory and grace.

 

Come see Jesus… As we stand and sing this invitation song together.