Transfiguration Family Devotion

Glen Dawursk, Jr. – www.yuthguy.com

 

Bible Readings:

 

Exodus 24:12, 15-18  (NIV)
(Moses ascends Mt. Sinai to receive the Law and witness God's glory.)
12 The LORD said to Moses, "Come up to me on the mountain and stay here, and I will give you the tablets of stone, with the law and commands Ihave written for their instruction." ... 15 When Moses went up on the mountain, the cloud covered it,  16 and the glory of the LORD settled on Mount Sinai. For six days the cloud covered the mountain, and on the seventh day the LORD called to Moses from within the cloud.  17 To the Israelites the glory of the LORD looked like a consuming fire on top of the mountain.  18 Then Moses entered the cloud as he went on up the mountain. And he stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights.

 

 

Matthew 17:1-9  (NIV)
(Jesus is transfigured on the mountaintop.)
After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves.  2 There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.  3 Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.  4 Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters-one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah."  5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!"
 6 When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified.  7 But Jesus came and touched them. "Get up," he said. "Don't be afraid."  8 When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus. 9 As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, "Don't tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead."

 

Devotion:

 

It’s your birthday and dad wants to take a picture of you before you blow out the candles on your birthday cake.  He lifts the camera to his eye and proceeds to shout, “Smile and say cheese!”  You respond with a great big smile and the simple word, “Cheese.”  Suddenly a dazzling light from the camera’s flash bulb brightens the room with so much light, it seems brighter than daylight.  The flash momentarily “blinds” you and you can see nothing but the glow of the camera’s bulb in your eyesight – an image of the actual flash seems to be imprinted on your eyes.  For the moment, this transparent image makes it difficult to see the room clearly as you see the “flash spot” wherever you look; but just as quickly as the flash filled the space, the normal dullness of the room returns and you proceed to blow out the candles as your family and friends sing “Happy Birthday.” 

 

Does this sound familiar?  Have you ever had a “flash” of light that seemed to blind you for a moment?  Maybe a car on a dark highway has its “brights” on as it approaches your car or maybe a lightning bolt flashes across a darkened sky and catches you off guard. 

In our Bible stories for today, we read about two times were God’s followers climbed a mountain and saw the “Glory of God.”  In both cases, God’s Glory caused a brightness and radiance which exceeded any “flash” from a camera.

 

When Moses went up to be with God, God initially used a cloud to represent His presence, or his “Glory” before the people.  Many chapters later (Exodus 34:29), we read about how when Moses stood before God again, God’s presence caused Moses’ face to glow. This radiance or brightness scared many of the people, so whenever Moses came down from the mountain he wore a vale, a piece of cloth, over his face.  This brightness was caused by the “perfect ness and power” of God.  It was simply because Moses was in God’s presence.  The “Glory of God” caused Moses’ radiance.  

 

Almost 1500 years later, Jesus’ disciples also saw this brightness or “God’s Glory” when they were with Jesus on the mountain praying.  The word used in the Bible is “transfigured” which simply means that Jesus “changed.”  For a moment, Jesus’ clothes became as bright as the sun or a lightning bolt, brighter than any camera flash.  In that moment, the disciples saw God’s Glory in Jesus.  Jesus, who lived with the disciples as a man, was really God. He chose to take the form of a man, because He wanted to live the perfect life we could not live.  When Moses came down from the mountain, we learned that if we could not be perfect, we could not go to Heaven; but God loved us so much that He lived the perfect life for us through Jesus and then died for our sinfulness, our imperfectness, on the cross.  He took upon Himself our darkness so that we could experience His brightness someday in Heaven.   So the next time you see a bright light, think of the brightness of the Glory of God, which we will see someday in heaven.  

 

Family Discussion: 


How do we share the “light” of Christ with others? 
What can we do to let “God’s Glory” shine through us?

 

Prayer: 


Dear God, Thank you for the “light” of Jesus.  Thank you that because of your love for us, we will someday experience your “radiance” in heaven.  Please help us to “shine” the light of Jesus to others around us.  May we be your bright lights in a darkened world.  In Jesus name, Amen.

 

 

"We shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is." (I John 3:2)

 

 

Transfiguration Board Meeting Devotion

Glen Dawursk, Jr. – www.yuthguy.com

 

Bible Readings:

 

Exodus 24:12, 15-18  (NIV)
(Moses ascends Mt. Sinai to receive the Law and witness God's glory.)
12 The LORD said to Moses, "Come up to me on the mountain and stay here, and I will give you the tablets of stone, with the law and commands I have written for their instruction." ... 15 When Moses went up on the mountain, the cloud covered it,  16 and the glory of the LORD settled on Mount Sinai. For six days the cloud covered the mountain, and on the seventh day the LORD called to Moses from within the cloud.  17 To the Israelites the glory of the LORD looked like a consuming fire on top of the mountain.  18 Then Moses entered the cloud as he went on up the mountain. And he stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights.

 

 

Matthew 17:1-9  (NIV)
(Jesus is transfigured on the mountaintop.)
After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves.  2 There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.  3 Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.  4 Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters-one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah."  5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!  6 When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified.  7 But Jesus came and touched them. "Get up," he said. "Don't be afraid."  8 When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus. 9 As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, "Don't tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead."

 

 

Message:

 

It is amazing to me how our society’s conveniences have shaped who we are and how we live. I came across a commentary on the Internet the other day that demonstrated this.  The writer, David Roher talks about how society has even changed how we camp.

 

“The motor home has allowed us to put all the conveniences of home on wheels. A camper no longer needs to contend with sleeping in a sleeping bag, cooking over a fire, or hauling water from a stream. Now we can park a fully equipped home on a cement slab in the midst of a few pine trees and hook up to a water line, a sewer line and electricity. One motor home I saw recently had a satellite dish attached on top. No more bother with dirt, no more smoke from the fire, no more drudgery of walking to the stream. Now it is possible to go camping and never have to go outside. We buy a motor home with the hope of seeing new places, of getting out into the world. Yet we deck it out with the same furnishings as in our living room. Thus nothing really changes. We may drive to a new place, set ourselves in new surrounding, but the newness goes unnoticed, for we've only carried along our old setting.”

 

The author then goes on to say that “the adventure of new life in Christ begins when the comfortable patterns of the old life are left behind.” To me this is a perfect application of Transfiguration Sunday. 

 

It is a pleasant day for a hike, and Jesus leads three of His disciples up Mount Hebron, possibly to pray.  Just a week prior, Peter professed publicly His belief that Jesus was not simply a man; Jesus is the Son of God.  It is on this mountain that Jesus gave Peter, James and John a unique view of His “God-side.”  When the disciples reached the top, according to the Bible, He “changed.”  The word used was “Transfigured” which comes from the Greek word “metamorphosis” or “Change.”  Jesus’ three closest disciples experienced “God’s Glory” in Christ when His appearance became as bright as the sun, “white as light” (Matthew 17:2), “bright as a flash of lightning,” (Luke 9:29) and as “dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them  (Mark 9:3).  Jesus was significantly different and if that was not enough, He had visitors appear with Him. 

 

Moses, representing the old covenant and the need for a savior, and Elijah, the prophet who was called the “restorer of all things” (Malachi 4:5-6) appeared with Jesus. The Jewish concept of the scriptures being the “Law and Prophets” was being represented on this mountain top; but even more, the fulfillment of the Law and Prophets” was represented through Jesus.  But the story does not end here.  After Peter offers to put-up some tents for the visitors, God the Father speaks to the disciples with a booming voice from heaven: “This is my son…listen to Him.”  Just as quickly as this “change” took place, it was over and the disciples were left with obvious amazement and extreme trepidation.  Knowing their hearts, Jesus touched them and comforted them saying, “Do not fear.”

 

God consistently offered “mountain top” experiences to His people throughout scripture.  They are examples of God’s manifestation and Jesus’ glory and demonstrate the “power of God,” and more importantly demonstrate the fulfillment of the law in Jesus Christ.  He is the “mountain top” experience for all believers.  Through Him, we can all receive a “transformation” from our sinful condition toward the glory He has prepared for us.  These examples of “glory” are significant.  In the Old Testament, I firmly believe that Moses did not want to leave the presence of God on the mountain.  Even Peter was prepared to put up tents.  He wanted to stay on the mountain.  Can we blame him?  We want to stay on the mountain also?  Who would want to leave the presence of God?  Not me. 

 

So what does a motor home camper have to do with Transfiguration?  Simply, they both involved a “transformation.”  While Jesus was affirming His God-side, I think He was also emphasizing our need for a “transfiguration” in our lives and then in our ministry approaches.

The theme of the Transfiguration is not simply the majesty and glory of God, or the fulfillment of the Law in Jesus, but more importantly the fact that God’s disciples had to return to earth.  God does not want for us to simply and exclusively dwell in the presence of the Glory of God on the mountain – at least not now.  Why?  Simply stated, ministry takes place at the base of the mountain.  This starts when we are willing to demonstrate the “transfiguration” in our lives to others.  We must show that Jesus is apart of us; that the glow of our lives is from the source of all power and light, God himself. 

 

What is the real focus of our church’s ministry?  Are we making every effort to “touch” people as Jesus did?  Are we seeking to offer relief from their fear?  This type of ministry makes Jesus real not just to our members, but also to our community.  Are we willing to minister within our church’s wilderness, or are we still seeking the inward comforts of our traditional “church motor home”.  Does our board seek to teach faith formation within the context of the needs and experiences of the people we minister to now, or is it tied to the traditions and culture of 20 or 30 years ago?

 

Just like the motor home analogy, true ministry and Christian education begin “when the comfortable patterns of the old life are left behind.”  The message of these verses is the necessity to meet the needs of people who desire to meet God on the mountain.  To seek God, but know that touching lives and real ministry takes place at the base of the mountain.  Here we will see people transformed, as the glory of God is made known to them.  May it be so within this board and throughout our church for Jesus sake.  Amen.

 

Prayer: 

 

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for the new life we receive through your Son Jesus Christ.  We come before you tonight, asking that your Holy Spirit would empower us to make decisions that are pleasing to you.  May we as a board seek out ways to demonstrate to others the “change” you have made in our lives.  May we “touch” others the way you touched us and may we be used by your Holy Spirit to be Jesus with “skin on” to a community in need of your love and salvation.  Thank you Father. In your Son’s name, Jesus, we pray. 
Amen.