Matthew 17:1-9 (click for full reading)
“This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”
THE VIEW FROM HERE?
(Click on the title above to listen to the sermon)
You remember the scene in the movie The Wizard of Oz when the little dog Toto pulls back the curtain to reveal that the Wizard is nothing but an ordinary man. Hope is turned to despair and fear is turned to anger as Dorothy realizes the Wizard does not have the power to get her back home. What do we learn about our Lord when the curtain is pulled back?
What do you need in order to believe? A few of the disciples were there to see a powerful vision of the glory of Christ and to hear the booming voice from the heavens declare Jesus to be the beloved Son of God.
“As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus ordered them ‘Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of man has been raised from the dead.” In other words, the incredible spectacle of the transfiguration is not enough to know what kind of Messiah Jesus will be. Not until Jesus is raised upon the cross and finally raised from the tomb will the world know what kind of Savior He will be.
Jesus leads us back down the mountain and into the middle of real life where we find our neighbor in need. What do you need in order to believe?
Questions to ponder or discuss:
1. Have you experienced awe-inspiring moments that filled your heart with faith and joy? Is it possible to have faith without such dramatic experiences?
2. Why do some people seem to be blessed with a strong faith in God and others seem to have trouble believing? Is there anything you can do to help others find faith? Has anyone ever helped you deepen your own faith?
3. When was the last time you shared part of your own faith story with someone else? What was their reaction?
This week, think about ways your own faith journey may help to inspire others to believe. It may be as simple as mentioning to a friend how inspired you were during a worship service or a small group discussion. The challenge is to come down the mountain and share with others how God has inspired you. Maybe this video clip of my recent visit to the remote and poor little Lutheran mission congregation in Rukwa Tanzania will help.