Nancy Leigh Demoss, “On Another Mountain: The God Who Points to His Son”
There is a danger of having heads that are full but hearts and lives that are empty. Sound theology should always, always lead us to doxology and transformation. May our hearts be lifted in praise and adoration of our great God and that our lives be transformed.
Dialogue with each other tonight with a couple of questions: How have you seen God in a new light? What has given you a fresh vision of God? How has what you have seen shed light on the path you are now walking?
G. Campbell Morgan: the supreme need in every hour of difficulty and distress is for a fresh vision of God. Seeing Him all else takes on proper perspective and proportion.
This may be the most important event between Jesus’ birth and resurrection.
Look back to Matt 16…
16:21 Prediction of Jesus’ death. Humiliation/suffering followed by exaltation, a common theme. Peter, like other Jews, does not have theology that includes a suffering Messiah. He wants exaltation without humiliation, crown without a cross. Doesn’t Peter speak for us in our desire to avoid suffering in favor of exaltation?
16:23 Jesus rebukes Peter. Suffering, humiliation, weakness are a means by which His kingdom and glory advance. In mystery of God death brings life.
16:24 Not only will Jesus suffer but they must suffer: take up cross and follow. The cost of discipleship. If you want to share in My kingdom you have to take the pathway of the cross. Also reminds them the pathway does not end at the cross.
16:27 Hope that suffering will be followed by glory. This was true of Christ, true for his disciples. He will reward his faithful followers, punish his enemies.
16:28 links v. 27 with 17:1. Promise of v28 fulfilled in 17:1. The transfiguration is an unveiling of the glory of the King. Until this moment Jesus has been clothed in humble garb of humanity. Disciples will be allowed to see His glory.
The most intimate experiences of God’s glory rarely happen in crowd. Pull away by ourselves with Lord Jesus and see His glory. These same disciples will see his agony in Gethsemane. Had they just experienced the suffering of Gethsemane without glory of the transfiguration would have felt hopeless. If they had only experienced exaltation without humiliation, then they would be unduly exalted and puffed up.
There will be seasons of glory and seasons of gore. Christ has been through both. He goes with us through both.
This event takes place on a mountain. Not first time God’s glory is revealed on mountain. Abram and Isaac. Mount Sinai and Moses.
Jesus was transfigured. Related to our word: metamorphosis. Changed. Transfigured from inside out as the glory and splendor was made visible. Jesus’ glory so bright, the glory of his deity, that his clothes shone too. Contrast Moses with veil.
Blazing, blinding light from face of Jesus and the dazzling whiteness of his clothes: Manifestation of glory of God from within. Up til now His glory was veiled by His humanity. Now glory made visible to human eyes. Glory of God revealed in face of Christ!
Not a new miracle but a temporary cessation of an ongoing miracle. The real miracle is that Jesus could keep from displaying his glory.
Disciples given a glimpse of the glory he had from eternity past, and the glory that will be His for all of eternity future. A preview of his future return in power and glory.
2 Peter: we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. John: Word became flesh and dwelt among us and we have seen His glory.
v. 3 Moses and Elijah, glorified saints. Vision reminds that both are still alive. The immortality of the soul and conscious existence of saints after this life. Represented the law and the prophets. Perhaps Moses a type of those who have died and wil rise again, Elijah of those who still alive and will be caught up in air.
What are they speaking about? Luke: of Jesus’ departure, his exodus. 1500 years earlier God raised up a deliverer to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt. And here is Moses talking with Jesus, the Great Deliverer, about His coming exodus.
Luke 9. Moses and Elijah made appearance while disciples dozing. These same disciples also slept through Jesus’ agony in Gethsamane. How could they sleep then and how could they sleep through this? How can we sleep when Christ is displaying his glory around us? Wake us up to see your glory!
Matt 17:4 Peter offers to make tabernacles, tents. Peter wanted to capture the moment, to bottle the experience, to retain the glow. Had he forgotten what Jesus had just told him about His death? Was He trying to avoid the cross? Good to be there, yes, but not good to stay there. We’ve all had an unusual experience of the presence of Christ and wanted to remain. Who wants to leave this? Misery, unbelief in valley below. They would rather stay on mountain than go on to Jerusalem. Is this the same motivation that led Peter to rebuke Jesus? Exaltation without humiliation? There is no way, can’t have one without the other. Luke 9 says he didn’t know what he said. His timing was off. Jesus embraced the cross.
The cloud signified His presence. Not a dark cloud of mount Sinai but here is a bright cloud, perhaps signifying the giving of grace from this moment on.
Father emphatic that Jesus not just one of three great men. Jesus is the one and only, the incomparable Christ! Moses and Elijah mere servants in God’s house, Jesus the beloved son. Son had never for one moment displeased the Father and Father is pleased with the sacrifice Jesus was about to offer.
“Listen to Him”It’s better to hear Him than to see Moses and Elijah back from the dead! Yes, the Lord had spoken through His prophets but in these latter days a greater prophet has arisen. God had sent His only begotten Son; listen to Him for when He speaks God speaks. This is counsel we need in our day: listen to Jesus. When confused, listen to Jesus. When don’t know what to say or do, listen to Jesus. When surrounded by great bible teachers and leader, don’t make idols of them, listen to Jesus. When tempted to give God direction, listen to Jesus. When you think you know what to do next, put away your foolish plans and listen to Jesus.
Disciples fell on face and were terrified. Jesus touched them: “rise and have no fear.” One reason we’re not falling on faces in our churches today: maybe we’re not listening to God? They were overcome by the voice of God, even more than by the sight of glory. This is the power of God’s Word!
In spite of terror, they were not consumed by glory. His mercy: “get up and don’t be afraid.” And they saw no one but Jesus only. Moses and Elijah’s role finished, and the disciples left alone with Jesus. His coming work at cross would be sufficient, He would complete God’s redemptive plan.
Remember Christ goes with you!
Submission of son to the will of the Father. Glimpse for just a moment of what He left when He came to earth. He chose to go back down the mountain to deal with human need, sin, death, sickness, and then to go to cross and humiliation.
What bearing does this have on our lives today?
1. For those in Christ, His transfiguration points to our transformation. Purpose of His death and resurrection to rescue us from sin to redeem and make all things new. His transfiguration points to our transformation past, present, future.
In past we are new creation, our spirits made alive, justification. A present transformation as our souls are transformed, His new nature manifest increasingly in us: sanctification. Complete change of form and appearance. The glory of God in us totally changes us. Makes us different. Method of transfiguration: as we fix our eyes on Christ. Gazing upon the beauty of the Lord. David: “one thing I ask… ” As we behold Jesus we become like Him. A consistent devotional life. There are no shortcuts. Beholding Christ in his Word we see him and we are transformed into His image from glory to glory. Get to Christ!
Future transfiguration: glorification. Christ’s transfiguration a preview of what God has for us when our bodies are transformed because of what Christ has accomplished for us. He will transform our lowly body to be like His glorious body!
We have no light of our own: His light, His glory that we want seen and felt and known in this world through us!
2. Gives a perspective and context and hope for our lives as we live them not on mountain but in valley. We have hope of sharing His glory but no crown without cross. Suffering precedes glory. Suffering preparing an eternal weight of glory! Thank God for those moments when we see glimpse of magnificence and splendor of Christ but those moment are just foretaste and don’t last long. Make us long for eternal glory and sustain us in momentary afflictions. There is suffering coming.
Scene at bottom of mountain as far from the scene on mountain as can imagine. Christ went with His disciples down the mount into the valley where His glory was veiled. He will go with you from this place as well. Disciples are meant to see their circumstance in the valley in light of the glory they had witnessed.
God of glory is God of all grace. Same God who speaks on mountain also speak and exercises authority over evil in valley. We will come forth as gold, He uses all that “craziness” to transform us. The suffering of this season will one day give way to exaltation and glory! Take heart and be of courage. He has shown us the path of life and in His presence is fullness of joy! Though you have seen him, you love Him…you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of joy, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls all for the everlasting joy of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Note: these are my notes that were hastily typed during the presentation. Any and all error in transcription is mine and not the instructor’s. Also, please excuse the multitude of grammatical errors!