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Archive for February 26th, 2017

The commonplace heresy of our time has been for some time that Jesus is not true God.  He was a good teacher but not very God of very God.  Today’s Gospel reading, as does all the witness of the Scripture speaks for and out of His Divinity.  There has been another heresy call docetism that Jesus just appeared as a man, but was God alone in the appearance of a man:  a phantasm, an avatar of the celestial plane.  This heresy said that the body and all matter was crude and debased and only the pure spirit was real. As in Yoda pinching Luke Skywalker and talking about “this crude matter”.  Jesus’ sufferings were only an appearance as well. Suffering is not a phantasm in our lives, neither were Jesus’.  This would also mean that  joy is only an appearance, but it is not and neither is the Lord’s joy in finding lost!  These are as the Apostle Peter wrote, “cleverly devised myths”. Either way we do not have the Savior who touched the disciples in their fear to calm them body and soul but He did.   He touched the blind, the lame, the deaf, the mute, the dead to see, walk, hear, speak and live.    

Either way heresy leads us away from Christ. Either heresy denies the Atonement If Jesus was not true Man then He did not lead Peter, James and John up the Mountain and if He was not true God, then He could not have been transfigured before Peter, James and John.  Either heresy, divides the two natures, man and God.  The Bible is clear:  Jesus is not divided, nor the persons confused, but He is the one Christ for us and for our salvation Who came down from heaven. 

His transfiguration shows clearly, as clear as the light that shone forth from His Face that He is God and He touches His disciples to show He is Man.  He is not 50% man and 50% God, but 100% God/100% man.  He still is as He sits at the right hand of the Father. As recorded in the Gospels, the Father clearly said twice: This is My Beloved Son, with Whom I am well pleased. The Father said this when His Son was baptized by John as we hear at the beginning of the Epiphany season. The Father says the same on the Mount of Transfiguration and He added:  Listen to Him. As the Mother of God said to the servants at the Cana wedding feast, do what He tells  you.  The Holy Spirit teaches us what Christ has said and who Christ is.  We are trained in the righteousness that comes by faith in Jesus Christ, not by the Law.  The Law can not transfigure us. Christ came to do what the Law can not do:  transfigure us.

The word “transfigure” in Greek is the basis of our word:  metamorphosis.  Matthew tells us of the Holy Trinity when Jesus is baptized, the Holy Spirit descends and the Father speaks.  As the Holy Spirit overshadowed the virgin Mary, so the Son and His three disciples are overshadowed by the bright cloud, the Holy Spirit and the Father speaks.  The next time we read of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, the one God, is when Jesus sends out the Apostles to teach, preach and baptize in the Name of the Holy Trinity.  We were transfigured from orphans to the Lord’s sons and daughters in baptism. The other time we read of “metamorphosis” is Romans 12:

“Transformed” is the same root as “transfigured”, a metamorphosis. Our minds are renewed and transformed in Christ: for instance, we learn that  life is not politics, life is Christ.  Everything we have and own is not everything, as God alone gives every thing.  Life is more than food, clothes and drink.  We learn that sin is the great burden but virtue is not.  We know there is right and wrong. We have learned we are not self-invented, but wonderfully  and fearfully created. We are not a random accident.  We learn the Father’s forgiveness in Christ once and for all.

Peter wanted to stay there on the mount of Transfiguration.  A woman asked in the Bible class as the Mayflower where is the mount of Transfiguration?  I said it is unknown as to location.  As it should be.  Peter wanted to build three tents or tabernacles, equal for Jesus, Moses and Elijah. They are not equal and Moses and Elijah know that!  If Jesus had agreed to Peter’s offer  that mountain would have been the Mecca of all Meccas…and Jesus would not have touched Peter, James and John so they could see Jesus only, Jesus only going the lonely way through the valley of the shadow of death to another mountain, a hill actually, called Skull.  We could not have been redeemed, forgiven and sealed with the Holy Spirit to be His own in His death and resurrection.     

 From 2 Corinthians 4:6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”  His face shone like the sun on transfiguration’s mountain.  “The Lord bless you and keep, the Lord make His face to shine upon you”  The face of love’s pure light  was spat upon by the Roman soldiers and a crown of thorns placed upon that head. As it is written, Isaiah 52, centuries before the Incarnation:

As many were astonished at you—
    his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance,
    and his form beyond that of the children of mankind—

Jesus was transfigured and Jesus alone was disfigured.  Sin is disfigurement. Wrong and evil twists man into horrible shapes of greed, lust for power, sexual immorality…seeking God in all the wrong places, fame, power, looks. They then have theologians who will justify ungodliness, saying it is okay, devising daily  cleverly devised myths.  Like the myth of tolerance as the sole virtue these days. Pastor Matt Richards posted this on Facebook:

In Jesus, we do not see tolerance, but we see love. If Jesus would have gone the way of tolerance, He would ‘not’ have gone to the cross but would have left us in our sins. And if we were left in our sins, we would be left with damnation. So much for the way of tolerance! But because of His great love for us and His rich mercy, Jesus could not tolerate our sin. Indeed, the Son of God could not tolerate our sin, so He was compelled to the cross – in love – to do something about it.

He has done something about it and Lent is focus of what the Lord did about it.  Can you imagine the Lord saying to  you, I tolerate you?  It is frightening and He has not but He has said, For God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son.   Just imagine anyone saying that to someone they claim to love! I tolerate that you are doing wrong.  Such is the way of cleverly devised myths which always results  in the downward spiral of the disfigurement of sin and eternal death. St. Peter wrote of all “false prophets”:

They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, while they feast with you. 14 They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children! 15 Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray.

The One who was transfigured, was disfigured and we are configured together as His Church, His body.  This Word, as all the Word of God, is the lamp in our hearts, the day star arising. Tend to His Word always as the Lord tends to you always.  We can love others and show the Way, capital W. Martin Luther commented on the day star of the Word:

This is God’s Word, even the Gospel; that we are ransomed by Christ from death, sin, and hell: Whoever hears that, has this light and has kindled this lamp in his heart, even that by which we may see the One that enlightens us, and teaches us whatever we need to know. But where this is not, there we rush on, and by principles and works of our own device would find out the way to heaven. Of this you can judge and see by your light, that it is darkness. Therefore since they have not the light, neither wish to receive it, they must remain in darkness and blindness. For that light teaches us all we ought to know and all that is necessary to salvation, a thing which the world by its wisdom and reason knows not. And this light we must still have and depend upon, even to the day of judgment. Then shall we have no more need of the Word, just as we put out the lamp when the day breaks.

Jesus told His disciples not to speak of the Transfiguration unto the Son of man is raised from the dead.  His resurrection is beyond any epiphany. In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

 

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